Friday 19 January 2018

Shape up or ship out, Guus Hiddink warns Chelsea stars

Guus Hiddink won’t accept anything less than 100 per cent from players even though he is only caretaker manager. Photo: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images
Guus Hiddink won’t accept anything less than 100 per cent from players even though he is only caretaker manager. Photo: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Matt Law

Guus Hiddink has warned Chelsea's underperforming players that he will get tough with anybody who thinks they can take it easy during his interim reign.

Hiddink, who has taken a short-term role at the club after answering Roman Abramovich's SOS call following last week's sacking of Jose Mourinho, has no fears that his authority will be undermined by the fact the Chelsea players already know he will be replaced by a permanent manager at the end of the season.

Asked whether he could lay down the law during such a short time in charge, the 69-year-old Dutchman said: "If you have a temporary boss, he can do this in half a year - he can kick you around. There must be a great desire to play, yes. If you don't have that desire, please knock on my door and we'll talk. We'll talk briefly."

There were accusations that some Chelsea players stopped playing for Mourinho, with last season's player of the year Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Oscar all among those who have underperformed.

"They have a profound obligation to perform," Hiddink added. "They are here at a big club. They are well paid. They must have a heart full of desire.

If they don't, then I will say 'Thank you very much (goodbye).' I don't need players who don't have the desire.

"I spoke fully to the squad and, of course, we talked a bit about the past. Why I'm here, the reasons why we are down.


"But I told them things happen in football and I want everyone to look in the mirror, not just for two seconds, but longer, and be hypercritical, and give the best for the team.

"And see what anyone can contribute from now on to raise us up.

"We cannot ignore what has happened in the recent past, but they have to look forward."

Hiddink has revealed he incurred the wrath of his wife and gave up a Christmas trip to India with his family to return to Chelsea and try to save the club's season.

"I had big plans, big plans," said Hiddink. "Every Christmas, if my work lets me go, we go to another continent. This time was India. But I had to cancel it. At home they were p***ed off. Yes, that was the first reaction, but they know me.

"The second reaction, almost in the same second, was, 'You like your job so much you still have the desire and passion to do it'. My wife could see it in my eyes, so she's going without me.

"It was a quick decision from both sides. In the past, honestly, everything in this club was well organised. It's still a warm club. You have to regain that warmth in the inside, which I did in the last few days."

Hiddink confirmed that Chelsea are trying to bring Didier Drogba back to the club and have asked their former striker to negotiate an early exit from his contract with Montreal Impact, which has another year to run. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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