Guus Hiddink has urged the Chelsea squad to “look in the mirror” as they attempt to transform their faltering season.
Dutchman Hiddink was speaking in his first media conference since being appointed until the end of the season following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.
Chelsea beat fellow strugglers Sunderland on Saturday to move up to 15th in the Premier League table but remain just three points above the relegation zone.
Their appalling title defence led to Mourinho’s departure and Hiddink, who led Chelsea to FA Cup success during an interim spell in 2009, believes the players should be analysing where it has gone wrong.
He said: “On Tuesday I talked fully to the squad and of course we talked a little bit about the past and the reasons why I am here and why we are down.
“But on the other hand I told them that things happen in football and I want everyone to look in the mirror – not just for two seconds but for longer – and see what everyone can from now on contribute to the way up.
“That is what I was emphasising on – not to look back so much. But of course we cannot ignore what has happened in the recent past so I told them as big professionals to look in the mirror and see if you can be ultra-critical and give the best of yourself to the team. I want to look forward.
“There must be desire to play. If you don’t have it, knock on my door and we will talk – briefly.
“We have to show to ourselves, to the club and to the fans that the team has a big desire to wash away the last half year and go up to the next coming games. If we do that, the results will follow.”
Hiddink was coy when asked if there was any chance he would stay at the club beyond the end of the season.
He said: “What we said was ‘let’s go to May’. Then we will see.
“I shouldn’t be here halfway through the season because it means that things are not going as well as foreseen at the beginning of the season.
“But I am glad to be back – it is a few years ago that I was last here in a similar situation and I will try to help out as I was asked.
“I shouldn’t be here but I am – that is the reality of the situation and I am glad to be here because I worked here last time with a lot of love for the club. To work with the players is always a pleasure.”