Dec 21, 2015

    Guus Hiddink restores order in Blues after Mourinho exit


    CHELSEA'S new interim manager Guus Hiddink watched his team beat Sunderland 3-1 in a Premier League match on Saturday to restore some sense of normality in West London.

    Appointed "till the end of the season" prior to kick-off in place of the sacked Jose Mourinho, the Dutchman, 69, was in the stands at a discontented Stamford Bridge as Chelsea prevailed through goals from Branislav Ivanovic, Pedro Rodriguez and Oscar.

    "I am excited to return to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea is one of the biggest clubs in the world but is not where it should be at the moment. However, I am sure we can all turn this season around," Hiddink said in a club statement.

    It looks like the turnaround might have already begun without him as the result saw the Blues, who began the day a point above the relegation zone, move up one place to 15th.

    But Chelsea's fans used the match as an opportunity to take out their anger over Mourinho's dismissal, repeatedly chanting in support of the sacked Portuguese and unveiling a banner directed at the players saying: "You let Jose down, you let us down."

    They also jeered Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas as their names were read out before the game on the PA system and then when they were substituted towards the end of the match.

    But captain John Terry said he sympathised with the fans. "Rightly so, the fans are disappointed and so are we," he told Sky Sports. "We don't want to be where we are.

    "Credit to all the players. Our thoughts are with the manager (Mourinho), because we are disappointed. It falls on his head, unfortunately."

    Meanwhile, Chelsea's first-team coach Steve Holland, who took charge of the game, backed Fabregas and Costa to win back the supporters' trust.

    "I told the players whatever their feelings were regarding the situation, they had a responsibility to the football club and the supporters," he said.

    "I've not spoken to those players. From my point of view, I was happy with their contribution to this game and applauded them.

    "If the players compete like they did today (Saturday), there will be no reason why the supporters won't be happy with that."

    Since signing off from Chelsea with an FA Cup win over Everton, Hiddink has been manager of Turkey, Russian club side Anzhi Makhachkala and, most recently, a dismal second spell as Netherlands coach which ended in his sacking after they failed to qualify Euro 2016.

    However, he made a great impression in his brief stay in London in 2009, proved popular with the Chelsea players and lost only one of his 22 games in charge.