Guus Hiddink: Nobody is irreplaceable at Chelsea

Chelsea interim boss Guus Hiddink says no-one is “irreplaceable” but that John Terry is performing “perfectly” as the captain’s contract dispute rumbles on.

Guus Hiddink: Nobody is irreplaceable at Chelsea

The Chelsea skipper on Sunday night revealed he would be leaving Stamford Bridge after the club opted not to renew his contract.

Terry said the incoming manager may be able to reverse the decision, while Chelsea suggested a contract offer could be forthcoming and “the channels of dialogue (remained) open” — something Hiddink repeated yesterday.

The Dutchman had suggested he would recommend Terry stay on after the draw with Everton on January 17, but his caretaker capacity gives him limited clout.

“No-one is irreplaceable,” said Hiddink, speaking ahead of tonight’s Premier League clash at Watford.

“But it’s not, as has been acknowledged, a closed door.

“I recommend and people can do what they like. He is doing perfectly in his performances.”

Hiddink expects Terry to be fully committed to the cause, irrespective of whether or not a contract offer is forthcoming after admitting to being taken aback by the defender’s public declaration.

“It was a bit surprising, but he’s completely entitled to do so when his contract is expiring,” Hiddink added.

“I like him very much, the way he is playing and committed to the team — and he will be, I can assure you of that.

“Regardless the situation the club and he is in now, he will not just be professional, but (play) with all his heart as well.”

In making the club’s stance public, Terry effectively issued a come-and-get-me plea to the cash-rich clubs in Major League Soccer, China and elsewhere and it would now take a remarkable U-turn for him to stay at Stamford Bridge for a 19th season.

Terry, who says he intends to leave the Premier League, is already free to sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club and may do so before a permanent successor to Jose Mourinho is appointed.

Hiddink says Terry, who turned 35 last December and has made 696 appearances for the Blues, is still capable of performing at the top level.

The Dutchman added: “He’s very fit. He’s not how you would normally see a 35-year-old, 36-year-old player, that you feel that you get a little bit slower, you cannot accept that you’re getting into a danger zone for red cards.

“None of that for John. He’s fit and he’s performing as he’s doing while I’m here and he will do. I’m convinced.

“The door is not shut. Dialogue is always possible. There was no specific decision made yet. It’s early.

“We have to see in the progress reports and what’s coming up in the transition of the management.”

Chelsea drew 2-2 with Watford in Hiddink’s first match in charge and the Dutchman expects a difficult game at Vicarage Road.

“They have a very dangerous team. They can score at any moment,” Hiddink said.

Hornets manager Quique Sanchez Flores warned Chelsea his side are ready to match them again at Vicarage Road tonight.

“Our expectation is very high; to be competitive and to play well, to make a balance with Chelsea.

“Of course, we are really positive we can do something good.”

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