Guus Hiddink tells UEFA.com that drawing a line under past disappointments was crucial to getting Chelsea back on track following José Mourinho’s departure.
Since Guus Hiddink took temporary charge of Chelsea on 19 December following José Mourinho’s departure, the English champions have not lost a game – a great situation as they prepare to take on Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League.
The Dutchman spoke to UEFA.com about his second spell with the Londoners and the disappointment of missing out on the 2009 final.
UEFA.com: What’s it like being Chelsea manager for a second time?
Guus Hiddink: When the call came a few weeks ago, I saw a name appear on my telephone screen and I knew it could mean a second time working at Chelsea. I didn’t have to think about it for long. They knew me and they asked me to offer a helping hand, and so I did – with great pleasure.
UEFA.com: What changes have you implemented since taking charge?
Hiddink: I didn’t look back too far or ask everyone what went wrong in the last six months after that beautiful league title – that would only be information I don’t want, because in the end that’s all very subjective. I wanted to form my own opinion and that’s what I’ve done in the past few weeks. And I told the boys to think for themselves about what went wrong in the recent past and what their contribution can be now. ‘I’ll help you with that and I’ll tell you what I expect from you.’ That’s what’s happened these past weeks and luckily that has translated into some good results.
UEFA.com: Willian has been in incredible form this season; has he impressed you?
Hiddink: I am not too surprised because I worked with him for a year and a half at Anji in Russia. He’s in good shape. He adapted very quickly to the tougher requirements of the Premier League. His game is not all about natural ability – he is a much more complete player now and that’s great to see.
UEFA.com: Your Chelsea side reached the 2009 semi-finals but lost on away goals to Barcelona. How disappointed were you?
Hiddink: We had a good first-leg result: 0-0 away against a very strong Barcelona. At home we had a couple of good chances – we scored one through Michael Essien. And then in the 92nd minute, a great goal from Andrés Iniesta eliminated us. So there was disappointment, but also frustration because that would have meant a spot in the final for Chelsea two years in a row. Normally when you lose, you’re very disappointed and you recover after a few days, but this time it was very bitter.
UEFA.com: How do you rate your round of 16 opponents Paris?
Hiddink: We have to rate PSG very highly. First, because they knocked out Chelsea last year, and I think they’ve only lost one game so far this season. We’ll have to be very strong tactically because PSG’s ambitions are very high. They want to win the Champions League one day, whatever it takes. It’ll be very difficult, but if we have all our players on board then we’re convinced we can do better than last year. culled from Uefa.com