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No hiding for Hiddink

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Hiddink in composed manner at his first Chelsea news conference

By Mandeep Sanghera

Chelsea have had the "special one" in Jose Mourinho, the "normal" one with Avram Grant and the "so-so" one in Luiz Felipe Scolari.

This time around it was the turn of Guus Hiddink as he took over as temporary manager at the Stamford Bridge outfit until the end of the season.

So, where would he fit in?

Judging by his first Chelsea media appearance, it would be a mixture of the best qualities of his three predecessors.

Hiddink has a special record in football management, is down to earth and displays a modesty about a career any coach would be proud to have.

He is also an early bird. His news conference was at 0800 GMT and, for those expecting the usual late start of a football news conference, they were in for a shock.

606: DEBATE

If there was anyone rubbing the sleep out of their eyes, it quickly disappeared as Hiddink arrived on time.

Immediately, he stood and stared his inquisitors straight in the eye as he welcomed the assembled "ladies and gentlemen" with a commanding presence.

The Dutchman, who won the European Cup with PSV Eindhoven in 1988, had barely sat down when the first question was fired at him, but, not one to be rushed, he sipped on a glass of water before responding with interest.

Compared to the arrival of his previous incumbents, there was none of the brash flamboyance of Mourinho, no uncomfortable shifting a la Grant and no reluctance to face the cameras as Luiz Felipe Scolari showed last summer.

The calm authority, assurance and intelligence with which he spoke was a striking attribute.

As the cameras flashed and the tapes and dictaphones rolled, Hiddink showed that while the whirlwind swirls around him, he operates with an aura of calmness.

If he can maintain that quality, it will serve him perfectly for the frenzied nature of the Premier League and the intensely pressurised job of managing the 2005 and 2006 champions.

HIDDINK'S MANAGERIAL HONOURS
PSV Eindhoven: 6 League Championships - (1986-87, 87-88, 88-89, 02-03, 04-05, 05-06)
PSV Eindhoven: 4 National Cups - (1988, 89, 90, 05)
PSV Eindhoven: 1 European Cup - (1988)
Real Madrid: World Club Cup - (1998)
Holland: Quarter-finals (Euro 1996), semi-finals (World Cup 1998)
South Korea: Semi-finals (World Cup 20002)
Australia: Second-round (World Cup 2006)
Russia: Semi-finals (Euro 2008)
There was also no language barrier as with Grant and Scolari and, although Hiddink has overcome that obstacle in managing an assortment of teams and countries around the globe, it can only work in his favour with time of the essence.

Hiddink, 62, has the benefit of vast experience and notable achievements in the game. It showed as he was supremely at ease in covering the main topics of concern at the club.

Since his arrival, he said he had been noticing "how people get on with each other or not" after concerns over the unity of the Chelsea squad.

And, after observing the "little details", concluded that he "cannot see there is a division".

However, like any forward thinker, he wanted to focus more on the future and not the past.

A steely character, he said he can deal with managing both Russia and Chelsea but insisted he would only be in charge until the end of the season.

That is a scenario which could be put to the test if he impresses as much in charge of the west London club as in his first news conference.

You get the feeling he will, although as with any manager his results will tell his story in a current Premier League environment which has little respect for reputations.

So, while first appearances can be deceptive and not being as catchy as his predecessors, Hiddink comes across as the well-rounded one.

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see also
Hiddink sees no Chelsea discord
20 Feb 09 |  Chelsea
Aston Villa v Chelsea
19 Feb 09 |  Premier League
Hiddink puts reputation on line
11 Feb 09 |  Chelsea
Hiddink refuses to concede title
12 Feb 09 |  Chelsea
Chelsea confirm Hiddink as coach
11 Feb 09 |  Chelsea
New Chelsea boss meets the media
21 Sep 07 |  Football
Mourinho makes big impression
02 Jun 04 |  Chelsea


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