Wednesday 29 January 2020

Guus Huddink: Chelsea will not treat Tottenham game any differently

Guus Hiddink's Chelsea host Tottenham on Monday
Guus Hiddink's Chelsea host Tottenham on Monday

Chelsea interim boss Guus Hiddink is full of admiration for Tottenham a nd has denied the Blues' sole remaining motivation this season is to end their rivals' Barclays Premier League title hopes.

Leicester need three more points to secure the championship and play at Manchester United on Sunday, before Spurs' trip to Stamford Bridge.

The title, won by Chelsea last season, is out of Tottenham's control, but, even if Leicester lose at Old Trafford, a defeat on Monday night would end Spurs' hopes.

Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas have said they do not want Tottenham to win the league, b ut Hiddink insists the Blues will treat the contest in the same way as the following games with Sunderland, Liverpool and Leicester, who visit on the final day of the season.

"It's not specifically (about stopping) Tottenham to make the season a success," Hiddink said.

"That's not true. I don't think like that. I cannot give a guarantee of results, but I can guarantee the effort will be there. Not just in Monday's game."

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has attracted admirers, Hiddink among them, for making Tottenham title challengers and on Friday said he intends to stay at White Hart Lane by signing a new contract until 2021.

Hiddink, who recently met Pochettino at a managers' meeting, said: "I respect very much the work Mauricio Pochettino is doing in this club and the very calm way, knowing what he's doing.

"I see them play in a way I like to see a team play, which is attractive. He's doing a very good job.

"It's a complete team. I'm Blue and Chelsea, but I've seen them play this year and I enjoy it very much.

"They showed this year a lot of stability. There's never a guarantee in football, but the way they play is a way for success. They have very good balance in their team."

Chelsea have not lost at home to Spurs in any competition since February 1990, when Gary Lineker scored the winner.

Lineker, now presenter of Match of the Day, is from Leicester and has pledged to present the programme in his underwear next season if the Foxes prevail.

Hiddink, who will be succeeded by Antonio Conte this summer, reckons Claudio Ranieri's men can challenge again next season.

"They were fearless to go for the title. That's admirable," Hiddink added.

"If they stay fearless, they will knock on the door (next season)."

Spurs fans will look at Hiddink's home record in his second caretaker spell and be confident of ending their 26-year wait for victory at Stamford Bridge.

He has restored stability since Jose Mourinho's December departure, but has one Premier League home win - against Newcastle in February - six draws and one loss.

"So rub it in, man," said Hiddink, when reminded of his home record.

"We'd like to have more victories."

John Terry (Achilles) and fellow defender Gary Cahill (illness) are expected to be fit to feature, but goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois completes a two-match suspension.

Terry, who has missed 10 of the last 12 matches, may not be able to feature for 90 minutes.

"It's good to have them back," Hiddink said.

PA Media

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