Chelsea captain John Terry has praised Guus Hiddink for personally helping him through a season he believes has been unacceptable for the deposed Premier League champions.
Hiddink returned to Stamford Bridge for a second spell as interim manager last December, with any prospect of a title defence off the agenda as Jose Mourinho was sacked with Chelsea hovering above the relegation zone.
Terry is suspended for Sunday’s final match of the campaign against new champions Leicester City and his own future remains up in the air.
In February, the 35-year-old announced he would leave the club he has represented throughout his professional career in the absence of a new contract offer.
But this week, Chelsea offered the former England skipper a 12-month extension, with Terry saying he would take time to consider the terms of a “different role” put before him.
In his programme notes ahead of the Leicester game, Terry suggested Hiddink was an important influence for him during these months of uncertainty, labelling the veteran Dutch tactician as “a father figure”.
“For a club like this, and a group of players of our ability, this season’s not been acceptable. We want to end on a positive note,” Terry wrote, with Chelsea poised for a mid-table finish.
“I want to thank Guus ahead of his last game in charge – he has been unbelievable for me. He has helped me a lot this year.
“Not only as a manager, but as a father figure too. Guus’ door has always been open and you never forget that stuff as a player.”
Hiddink won the FA Cup with Chelsea in 2009, but Terry feels a lack of silverware this time around should not diminish his contribution.
“What Guus achieved in his last spell here and what he has done for the players this time has been phenomenal,” the centre-back added.
“All the players, and I think the fans as well, love Guus to bits because he cares about Chelsea.”
Speaking ahead of the match, Hiddink told a news conference Terry still had plenty to offer Chelsea and said the club should “cherish” their long-time leader.
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