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Page last updated at 13:14 GMT, Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Chelsea confirm Hiddink as coach


Hiddink unfazed by two jobs

Chelsea have announced that Guus Hiddink will take over as temporary coach until the end of the season.

The Premier League club have also revealed that the 62-year-old Dutchman will meet the players later this week.

"The club would like to take this opportunity to thank the Russian Football Union for their understanding and cooperation," said a statement.

Hiddink, who will continue to coach the Russian national side, replaces Luiz Felipe Scolari, who was axed on Monday.

The former PSV Eindhoven and Real Madrid coach is currently in Turkey with the Russia squad and is likely to be a spectator at Chelsea's FA Cup fifth round tie at Watford on Saturday, with the Premier League clash at Aston Villa on 21 February expected to be his first in charge.

"It's never enough time to prepare a team in one week but this is an exceptional situation," Hiddink added. "Chelsea have good players and they should be in top form and that should make my job easier."

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Archive - Hiddink guides Holland to 1998 semis

The Blues lie fourth in the table, seven points adrift of leaders Manchester United, who have a game in hand, with assistant Ray Wilkins coaching the team on an interim basis.

Hiddink, contracted to Russia until the end of the 2010 World Cup, said before his appointment that he only intended to help out until the end of the season.

"It's a favour for a friend," said the former Netherlands, South Korea and Australia coach, who has close ties to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

"Abramovich does so much for Russian football that I wanted to give something back. He called me personally."

1981: First coaching job with Dutch side De Graafschap
1984-87: Appointed PSV Eindhoven assistant coach then head coach
1990-1: Joins Fenerbahce and then Valencia
1995-8: Appointed Netherlands coach and leads team to World Cup semi
1998-9: Sacked at Real Madrid and Real Betis
2002: Guides South Korea to World Cup semis
2002: Returns to PSV before becoming Australia boss
2006: Appointed Russia coach
2009: Joins Chelsea as temporary boss

When asked about the possibility of continuing beyond this season at Stamford Bridge, Hiddink said: "There are two scenarios: it goes bad and they say 'go back east' or it goes well, but I'm not thinking that far ahead.

"There will be no damage for the Russian national team, we focus now and in the future on the Russian team."

Russia have two World Cup qualifiers over the course of the rest of the Premier League season - at home to minnows Azerbaijan on 28 March and away to Liechtenstein four days later.

But former England player Graham Taylor suggested the Russian team could suffer with Hiddink taking up his new dual role.

"I'm not going to say you can't do it for a short time," Taylor told BBC Radio 5 Live. "But he won't be able to watch the Russian international players play and it will be interesting to see what happens if Russia don't get a result in that first game against Azerbaijan.

"I think the likelihood of the national team suffering is greater than Chelsea suffering because at club level you have to be in there every day to know what is going do."

With Chelsea struggling for form, Hiddink revealed he planned to contact his predecessor Scolari within the next two days to discuss team matters.

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Archive - South Korea reach 2002 semi-final

Hiddink said he would not be bringing in new assistants "at this time" and regarding playing personnel, he added: "I always want to see the situation in the team myself first before making any changes if they have to be made."

Billionaire Abramovich, who agreed a compensation package with Scolari and his backroom staff on Tuesday, was instrumental in Hiddink's appointment as Russia manager in 2006, and the pair have since maintained close ties.

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti is considered the favourite to take over on a permanent basis next summer.

Hiddink is the third Dutchman to take charge of a Premier League club after Ruud Gullit (Chelsea, Newcastle) and Martin Jol (Tottenham) and is the seventh foreign manager at Chelsea.

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see also
Wednesday's gossip column
11 Feb 09 |  Gossip

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