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Hiddink dances into sunset with message for Chelsea

Guus Hiddink admitted Chelsea’s riotous dance party after the FA Cup final was the perfect way to end his brief reign, but the departing Blues manager wants his side’s victory over Everton to signal a more sedate period at Stamford Bridge.

Hiddink joined Chelsea’s stars in a wild dressing room celebration at Wembley on Saturday, which saw even Roman Abramovich lose his inhibitions and throw a few shapes alongside Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel and company.

A first trophy for two years does that kind of thing to a club who had grown used to such occasions during Jose Mourinho’s reign.

But, while Hiddink was delighted to savour every moment of a perfect farewell before resuming his role as Russia coach on a full-time basis, the Dutchman believes it is the Mourinho era that Abramovich must recreate if Chelsea are to enjoy more champagne-soaked celebrations in the future.

Since Mourinho was eased out after a bitter power struggle in September 2007, Chelsea have been through three managers and Abramovich is set to appoint a fourth, most likely AC Milan’s Carlo Ancelotti, in the next week.

Hiddink believes that constant change has had a negative effect on the players and he wants Abramovich to stick with his new man for the good of the squad.

“We had a nice dance party with everyone participating, the players and the staff,” Hiddink said. “We have a multi-cultural squad and you must see the African players; to see Essien break-dance is a joy.

“I did some good moves, the African way. At least that’s what I was thinking!

“Roman danced with us. He is not a man of many words but he was in the middle of the party.

“It was emotional in the dressing room because we were aiming for this cup.

“We had this beautiful African dance, then I gathered the players and technical staff in another room because I won’t get another opportunity now to speak to them.

“I gave a five minute speech to thank them in a rather emotional way for the way we have worked together in the last four months.

“Now I think stability is a big need for the club. They have had too many changes in the past years and they recognise that themselves.

“They need a long-term strategy so that they can build a team and keep up their high performance.

“The players know what they are capable of. This victory might be the foundation for the future. They have shown they can do it.”

After falling behind to Louis Saha’s 25 second opener, the fastest goal in FA Cup final history, Chelsea gradually overpowered Everton.

Didier Drogba equalised with a header from Florent Malouda’s cross in the 21st minute and Frank Lampard gave Chelsea their fifth FA Cup when he drove a long-range shot past Tim Howard after 72 minutes.

Hiddink refused to rule out managing another Premier League club, or even Chelsea, in the future, but for now he will visit his father before focusing on leading Russia to the 2010 World Cup finals.

He will always have a place in the hearts of Chelsea’s players and fans after one of the most successful caretaker manager spells of all-time.

When Hiddink replaced Luiz Felipe Scolari in February he took over a squad in danger of stagnating, but his direct, open approach produced a run of just one defeat in his 22 matches.

And were it not for some dubious decisions by referee Tom Henning Ovrebo in the Champions League semi-final second leg against Barcelona, Hiddink would have taken Chelsea to two finals.

He admitted that controversial defeat was the only disappointment of his time in England.

“It would have been even more perfect if we had been somewhere a few days ago playing in another big final,” Hiddink said.

“That is the only regret I have. I would have loved to play Man Utd in the Champions League final, but it did not happen.

“I feel sadness to be leaving because the attitude from everyone was superb. On the other hand leaving with silverware gives a feeling of satisfaction.

“This is the best way. You can say goodbye easier with a cup.”

Sun 31 May, 2009
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