As expected Chelsea has appointed veteran Dutch boss Guus Hiddink on an interim basis until the end of the season, after Jose Mourinho’s departure from the club earlier this week.
The 69-year-old will not be in the Blues dugout for today’s home clash with Sunderland, as coaches Steve Holland and Eddie Newton take charge of the team.
Hiddink the ace firefighter
Hiddink comes in for his second spell at Chelsea, but once again he is being brought in as a firefighter. Second time around the reigning Premier League champions are in major trouble in the top-flight, incredibly just a point clear of the dreaded relegation zone.
Former-boss Jose Mourinho is still considered one of the greatest bosses the Premier League has ever seen, but something had to change. Hiddink excelled in his previous stint in 2009 when he replaced Luis Felipe Scolari at the Chelsea helm.
Everybody at the club wanted him to stay, but he always insisted the job was only a temporarily one. It seems his second spell will also be a short-lived one. He seems like the perfect man to inspire a turnaround in fortunes.
The Dutchman was obviously delighted with his arrival at Chelsea, telling the media: “I am excited to return to Stamford Bridge.
“Chelsea is one of the biggest clubs in the world but is not where it should be at the moment. However, I am sure we can all turn this season around.
“I am looking forward to working with the players and staff at this great club and especially renewing my wonderful relationship with the Chelsea fans.”
A fantastic man-manager
Hiddink was much-loved by the Chelsea playing staff in his first spell at the club. In fact captain John Terry actually came out in the media praising the Dutchman at the time and revealed that the Dutchman was the players choice as Scolari’s permanent replacement.
He seems a very affable guy and his man-manager skills are renowned in the game. Former-Chelsea boss Ray Wilkins talked about Hiddink’s man-management skills by telling Sky Sports: “To put him in and have Steve Holland alongside him would be the right choice.
“His career hasn’t gone well, but he is the best man-manager I’ve ever seen. His English is first class and his mentality is too. He works hard but he loves a good giggle.
“He was a success last time firstly because he didn’t have the language barrier, which Chelsea had with Felipe Scolari, who couldn’t quite get his message across. Guus came in to enjoy himself, and enjoy himself he did.”
The last few months of Mourinho’s reign at Stamford Bridge was marred by accusations of fall-outs and the former-Real Madrid boss losing the players. There must have been something majorly wrong in the squad, as the Portuguese was considered a world-class man-manager, so Hiddink will need all his man-management skills to turn things around at Stamford Bridge.
What are the expectations for the rest of the season?
Hiddink has been brought in to steady the sinking ship at Stamford Bridge. It will be very difficult for the Blues to finish in the top four of the Premier League this season. They are currently 14 points behind fourth-place Manchester United.
There are too many teams above the Blues with more points for Chelsea to achieve a Champions League this season. The Blues season may all now rest on what happens in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
The Blues have been handed a very tough last-16 tie against Champions League dark horses PSG. The change in manager may just give the Blues a better chance of making the last eight of the competition, which they are now odds of 11/4 to achieve.
Guus Hiddink is a safe pair of hands to guide Chelsea through the current crisis, because the Blues have struggled in recent months. The Dutchman is no doubt just keeping the seat warm for a long-term replacement in the summer, but for me there is no doubt he is the right man for the job in the short-term.
Is Guus Hiddink the right appointment for Chelsea?