Chelsea are in real danger of falling into the relegation zone
For the second time in seven years, Guus Hiddink is the interim manager of Chelsea.
And despite the fact that the reigning Premier League champions are chasing a first away win since August, Hiddink is determined to encourage the players to become leaders in their pursuit of restoring their form.
Hiddink is working with familiar characters such as John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic and Mikel John Obi from the days in 2009, but now he must learn to fit his managerial style around new faces.
Speaking to the Guardian, he said:
Un señor se ha comido a Gus Hiddink pic.twitter.com/Ob1njM1Xgp— Kegüay Leonard (@chauchinoo) January 2, 2016
''It’s a bit different from all those years ago. I'm not going to say worse or better but different. It was a bit easier last time because we weren’t down the table and there were players with big international experience. Different types. Look at the spine of the team back then: Drogba, Ballack, Essien, Lampard, Mikel, Alex, Terry … the centre was strong. A different team with different personalities.''
Circumstances are different at Stamford Bridge now. In 2009, Hiddink guided Chelsea to a third place finish in the Premier League, a Champions League semi-final and the FA Cup. Players must be willing to inherit more responsibility now if they are to repair the damage of the pre-Christmas season and Hiddink has already communicated that to the players.
“That’s what I’m asking now of the players; that they must demand it of each other, not just in their commitment because they’re all committed. I’ve seen the intensity of training and the games but in the technical way of playing I like to see some players take the lead from central defence into midfield.''
“Tactically, you can do a lot with two or three words to your companion in front of you. We [managers] think we have a lot of power on the bench but that’s not true. You can just prepare the team and make the substitutions. I want the players to be in charge out on the pitch. To compare the team now to 2009, there were a few more guys who took that tactical lead last time. Now I’m asking these guys to take the lead – but you cannot blame these guys for a lack of commitment or intensity to their game.”
Chelsea travel to Cystal Palace today with hopes of extending their run of three games without defeat but with two ending in draws, Hiddink needs to oversee a victory.