GUUS HIDDINK expects today’s FA Cup semi-final to deliver two things — the chance for him to enjoy the perfect send-off from Chelsea, and an object lesson to owner Roman Abramovich in how to shape the future of the Stamford Bridge club.
Victory over Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal will ensure Hiddink completes his four-month reign at the May 30th Wembley final, three days after the Champions League final in Rome, and the Dutchman admits that the prospect of signing off with a trophy in his hand is a tantalising one. “If we — and I — can lift the cup for half a minute, that would be beautiful,’’ declared Hiddink, who insisted he will not fill any formal advisory capacity. “Finishing in the top four was my main priority when I arrived but we have made sure of that so now we can think of other things.’’
Of greater importance to Chelsea, however, will be how Abramovich plots the course of the post-Hiddink ear and the temporary coach believes his Russian employer should follow the lead set by this afternoon’s opponents.
Hiddink added: “Arsene has been at Arsenal for a long time. And it shows that the club has had his philosophy and strategy about how to play and how to act, with their education of young players and their transfer policy. It shows the work there has been very serious for a long period.
“I think Arsenal are a good model. At our club in recent years, there have been rather a lot of changes in management. We need stability. And things have happened here that weren’t always in favour of stability.’’
Hiddink also denied Petr Cech has lost confidence as Chelsea address the defensive frailties that have caused plenty of frayed nerves at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues know they must reverse a collapse that has seen them concede seven goals in two matches.
Cech admitted he was at fault for two of the goals and looked uncomfortable throughout the 4-4 Champions League draw with Liverpool in midweek.
The usually unflappable Czech keeper later defended his form and even Hiddink raised an eyebrow at his uncharacteristic mistakes after the game.
But yesterday Hiddink, who has rubbished a report he has advised Chelsea to sign Tottenham stopper Heurelho Gomes, gave Cech his full support.
“My thoughts on Petr are very positive because since I’ve been here he has done very good goalkeeping work,” he said.
“We don’t neglect the reality because we want to get better but Petr is an intelligent person and knows that he had one or two moments when it was not going as he wished. That’s it.
“When a goalkeeper makes a mistake there’s always direct consequences. Every now and then a keeper has the right to make an error and move on.
“We didn’t want to over-emphasise it. He hasn’t lost confidence. We don’t want to over-focus on what went wrong but we must look at what he is able to do. He’s smiling and relaxed in training.”
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