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Page last updated at 22:22 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Hiddink refuses to concede title

Hiddink will watch Chelsea play Watford on Saturday
Hiddink will watch Chelsea take on Watford in the FA Cup on Saturday

New Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink insists the Blues are still capable of winning the Premier League this season.

If leaders Manchester United beat Fulham next Wednesday, Chelsea will be 10 points behind with 13 games left.

"There's a 10-point difference but things can happen in the final stages of the championship," said Hiddink.

"The players are very committed, but sometimes you can have a little bit different approach to get even more efficiency out of the players."

The 61-year-old Dutchman, who has taken charge of the Blues until the end of the season, made his comments to Chelsea TV after being shown around the club's training ground on Thursday.

He was greeted at Cobham by chief executive Peter Kenyon, who gave the former Australia and South Korea coach a tour of the main building and met some of the players in the treatment room.

He then accompanied chairman Bruce Buck out on to the training field to watch the main session, led by Ray Wilkins. They were later joined by Abramovich and director Eugene Tenenbaum.

Winning the title would be a huge achievement. We will go for this title.

Guus Hiddink
Brought in following the shock sacking of Luiz Felipe Scolari on Monday, Hiddink is confident Chelsea can still challenge for three trophies this season.

"The FA Cup is there, the Champions League and also the league. All the three roads are very important," he said.

But he admitted he will have to work fast to ensure the Blues, fourth in the table behind United, Liverpool and Aston Villa, do not lose any more ground in the title race.

"I have to live, as soon as possible, in the depth of the club," he said. "I am not just here to add to my experience with the club and Premier League, but also I want to see these results as soon as possible."

Hiddink will watch Chelsea's FA Cup fifth-round tie at Watford from the stands before officially taking charge on Monday.

Assistant manager Wilkins will look after the team at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

Hiddink, whose first test as a Premier League boss will be the game at Aston Villa on 21 February, will continue to lead Russia's World Cup qualification campaign at the same time as attempting to revive Chelsea's domestic campaign.

Russia's next qualifying games are against Azerbaijan on 28 March and Liechtenstein on 1 April.


Hiddink initially said he only intended to coach Chelsea until the end of the season as a favour to club owner Roman Abramovich.

But he has now hinted he may remain at Stamford Bridge.

"What happens after May is unclear," said Hiddink, who has a contract with the Russian FA until the end of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. "It's difficult to make it work because the Premier League is challenging."

Chelsea captain John Terry thinks Hiddink could be persuaded to stay at the club if his tenure is successful.

"We have six months to turn things around and if we do he will probably get offered the full-time job," said the defender.

"It is down to us to put in the performances and get results for him and then hopefully something can be done in the summer."

Hiddink has revealed that he is unlikely to make any big changes to Chelsea's existing backroom staff.

"I'm not in favour of bringing in my group of people," said the former PSV Eindhoven and Real Madrid coach.

"I like to adapt to what is required, make an analysis and if something is needed we can do it. I'm looking forward to having the co-operation of Ray Wilkins."

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see also
Ancelotti rules out Chelsea move
12 Feb 09 |  Chelsea
Chelsea confirm Hiddink as coach
11 Feb 09 |  Chelsea
Wednesday's gossip column
11 Feb 09 |  Gossip

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