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Hiddink sees no Chelsea discord

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Hiddink sees no dressing room division

New Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink says he is not interested in reports that the dressing room was divided before his arrival at Stamford Bridge.

Player discontent is thought to have played a role in the dismissal of his predecessor, Luiz Felipe Scolari.

"I don't want to know about the past - I am here to go forward," said Hiddink.

"People have said Chelsea had problems but I'm not aware of them. I have watched the team and I cannot see that there is division, or whatever."

A delegation of senior players, including Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack and Petr Cech, were reported to have been unhappy with former boss Scolari's training methods, while captain John Terry recent admitted only "two or three" players were fully behind the Brazilian.

Drogba subsequently suggested that Scolari had "divided" the dressing room rather than uniting it by going public with his criticisms of the squad.

They respect each other. From what I have noticed, they are a united squad

Guus Hiddink

Hiddink took over as temporary coach until the end of the season following Scolari's dismissal on 9 February.

And he added: "I notice how people behave and how people get on with each other or not, but in my view there is no problem in that.

"I have watched the team from a little distance on the training ground and in the locker room over the last few days and I cannot see that there is division, or whatever.

"I am not totally naive and I wanted to see whether anything which has been said about the recent past is true.

"But you can see when you play games in training whether the players get emotional. You cannot mask things then - you show your emotions and show whether you get at a certain player or whatever.

"But I haven't seen that. They respect each other. From what I have noticed, they are a united squad.

Guus Hiddink and Roman Abramovich
Hiddink (left) and Chelsea owner Abramovich are close friends

"They are 20-plus players, and I am realistic enough to know that everyone from number one to 11 will be very happy but the rest will want to play. But they know they are in a big club and that not everyone can play."

The former Real Madrid and PSV Eindhoven manager re-iterated that he was only a temporary appointment at Stamford Bridge, and was fully committed to his other job as coach of the Russian national team.

He said he had only taken the job because of the special relationship between the Russian Football Union and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

Ray Wilkins took charge of Chelsea in last week's FA Cup win over Watford, and Hiddink said he was taking the advice of the former Chelsea midfielder as he got to know his new players.

"From a distance you know the players, especially those who are dominating for many years at international level, but for me it's important to know the less-known players and their place in the squad," said the Dutchman.

"That's what I've done in the last days and my very respected colleague Ray Wilkins has given me a lot of very good information about the players I don't know that well.

"This is a squad of 20 players - I'm realistic enough that 1-11 will be happy to play, from 12 they like to play but they know they are in a big club and know how when needed to contribute to the team."

606: DEBATE

And despite only being a temporary appointment, Hiddink made it clear he was keen to achieve as much with the team as he could during his time in charge.

"Chelsea are 10 points down on Manchester United (in the Premier League) which will be very difficult, but we must and will give it a try.

"In the other two competitions (the FA Cup and Champions League) we are of course in the race which is why it's a challenge.

"I'm not just here to pass the time until the end of the season - that's not what's in my mind."

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see also
Aston Villa v Chelsea
19 Feb 09 |  Premier League
No hiding for Hiddink
20 Feb 09 |  Chelsea
Chelsea confirm Hiddink as coach
11 Feb 09 |  Chelsea


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