Guus Hiddink edges closer to Chelsea return

Guus Hiddink has edged towards a second stint as interim manager at Chelsea after holding talks with Stamford Bridge bosses.

Guus Hiddink edges closer to Chelsea return

The 69-year-old Dutch boss arrived in London yesterday to meet with Chelsea chiefs over a short-term role to replace Jose Mourinho.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich arrived at the club’s Cobham base yesterday, observing training but also overseeing negotiations with former Netherlands manager Hiddink.

Hiddink told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf he would listen to Chelsea’s proposals before deciding whether to return to the club he coached to the FA Cup title in 2009.

“I want to get some good insight before I make my decision,” said Hiddink.

“I want as much information as possible. Chelsea are in a bad situation and there are reasons for that.

“Whether or not I’m visiting their next match depends on my first conversation.

“Then I’ll decide if I should stay in London longer.”

Mourinho left his Chelsea post on Thursday, just seven months on from guiding the Blues to the Premier League title but also after suffering nine defeats in 16 league matches this term.

Hiddink would appear to be Chelsea’s preferred caretaker appointment while the likes of Pep Guardiola, Diego Simeone and Antonio Conte are reported to be potential long-term successors to Mourinho.

Hiddink pledged to hear Chelsea’s offer in full before deciding whether to accept the challenge, suggesting first team coach Steve Holland could take charge of today’s Premier League clash with Sunderland at Stamford Bridge.

Well-travelled Dutch veteran Hiddink is viewed as the perfect antidote to the dressing-room discontent that has coincided with Chelsea’s decline from defending champions into relegation battlers.

The former Australia boss seemed to have his Chelsea move prematurely rubber-stamped by his one-time employers yesterday, the Socceroos releasing a statement to their official website.

Chelsea insisted Mourinho’s exit was by “mutual consent”, only for technical director Michael Emenalo to then cite “palpable discord” between the manager and the players for the 52-year-old’s departure.

Former England captain John Terry expressed his regret at Mourinho’s exit on social media yesterday morning.

“Thank you doesn’t seem enough. Sad sad day,” Terry posted on Instagram.

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

Hiddink stepped into the Stamford Bridge breach after Luiz Felipe Scolari’s sacking in 2009, and should now reprise that role.

Football Federation Australia posted a statement on its website congratulating their ex-boss Hiddink on his new challenge.

The federation stated: “Guus Hiddink has taken temporary charge at struggling EPL giant Chelsea after the club announced they’d sacked coach Jose Mourinho overnight following the club’s disastrous run in the English Premier League.”

Hiddink managed Australia at the 2006 World Cup, helping the team reach the second round.

Chelsea’s former assistant manager Ray Wilkins branded Hiddink “absolutely perfect” to step in and arrest the Blues’ slump between now and the end of the season.

“As an interim manager, he would love the challenge, I’m sure,” Wilkins said.

“He would be the one person I would say would be absolutely perfect to come in to the end of the season and straighten them out.”

Meanwhile, it has also emerged Mourinho did not see him leave Cobham under a hood on Thursday night, as had been initially thought.

For his part, Sam Allardyce has ordered his Sunderland players to stand up and be counted during the frantic festive period as he looks to increase to the turmoil facing Chelsea today.

While Mourinho’s departure has dominated the build-up to the game Allardyce’s chief concern is rescuing his side from the relegation zone after two consecutive defeats stopped the Black Cats’ revival in its tracks.

And Allardyce believes the way his players respond to the mighty challenge of playing six games in 24 days over Christmas and the New Year will go a long way of shaping their destiny for the rest of their campaign.

Allardyce said: “We’re in a position where we’ve got a few players who have not experienced Christmas before — the hurly-burly and the constant pressure that you come under for a short period of time, when everyone else is relaxing and you’re full-on 24-7.

“You’ve got to look into the players’ eyes and see whether the lads can handle it or not, particularly the lads who have only played in the Premier League for one season.

“We’ve slipped back into the bottom two and we have put enormous pressure on ourselves over Christmas.”

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