English Premiership

Hiddink confirms talks over Chelsea job

2015-12-18 20:03
Guus Hiddink (File)

London - Guus Hiddink confirmed on Friday that he is in talks to take over as Chelsea interim manager following Jose Mourinho's sacking.

Hiddink is Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's top choice to replace Mourinho on a caretaker basis until the end of the season while he searches for a long-term successor.

The 69-year-old Dutchman met Chelsea's directors for the first time in a London hotel on Friday afternoon, Dutch daily tabloid De Telegraaf reported.

Hiddink has already had a successful spell as Chelsea caretaker boss in 2009, when he was hired after the dismissal of Luiz Felipe Scolari and steered Chelsea to FA Cup glory, while also reaching the Champions League semi-finals during his three months in charge.

Although many reports claim Hiddink is certain to take the job, the former South Korea and Australia manager says he is still deciding whether to accept Chelsea's offer.

"I want to get as much information as possible," from Chelsea, Hiddink told De Telegraaf's online edition.

"The going's lousy for Chelsea at the moment and there are reasons for that.

"I first want to fully understand these reasons before making my decision."

Hiddink said he will not officially take charge of the team this weekend even if he agrees terms with the Blues, but he is likely to watch from the stands when Chelsea face fellow strugglers Sunderland in a crucial Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

"Whether I attend the match depends on my opening meeting," on Friday, Hiddink said.

"My initial meeting will also determine whether I stay in London for longer to discuss the issue."

With the rest of Mourinho's coaching staff having left along with the Portuguese boss, that would leave first team coach Steve Holland to pick the team to take on Sunderland.

Hiddink won six Dutch league titles and the European Cup across two spells as PSV Eindhoven manager.

Since leaving Chelsea, he has endured unsuccessful spells as manager of Turkey, Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala and the Netherlands.

He stood down as Netherlands boss in June, with their Euro 2016 qualifying hopes already in disarray.

Mourinho's tumultuous second spell at Chelsea ended on Thursday "by mutual consent" immediately after he had finished a Christmas dinner with the rest of the squad and staff at the club's Cobham training ground.

Chelsea's technical director Michael Emenalo revealing that squad disharmony was a significant factor after months of reports that key players were unhappy with Mourinho's acerbic man-management style.

Nine defeats in 16 games saw the reigning Premier League titleholders drop to within a point of the relegation zone.

Chelsea's disastrous start to the season prompted owner Roman Abramovich to axe Mourinho for the second time, the Russian billionaire having also dismissed him in 2007.

Former Chelsea midfielder and assistant manager Ray Wilkins feels the struggling squad must take their share of responsibility for the manager's spectacular fall from grace.

"I love Jose and he's done a fantastic job for Chelsea," Wilkins said. "He'll go elsewhere and do a wonderful job for someone."

"I honestly do believe the players need to take a lot of blame for this as well because they really haven't performed. The only player that's performed on any sort of consistent level is Willian."

"With the ball, more often than not there's no problem. But without the ball they've not done half as much as they should have done. They've not worked hard enough."

While Hiddink could fill the gap in the Chelsea dugout in the short term, permanent options include Pep Guardiola, who reportedly plans to leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season, Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone and Italy coach Antonio Conte.

Former England captain and Chelsea defender John Terry took to Instagram to express his thanks and regret after Mourinho's Stamford Bridge exit, posting a photo of he and the former manager embracing.

"Thank you doesn't seem enough. Sad sad day," posted Terry.

"Gonna miss you Boss. The very best I have EVER worked with, unbelievable memories together."


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