Guus Hiddink has had a positive effect on Chelsea since taking over the club as interim manager after the sacking of Jose Mourinho.
Since Hiddink’s arrival on Dec. 19, Chelsea has gone 10 games in the Premier League without a loss, which is currently the longest unbeaten run in the league. Although the Blues have only won four out of those 10 games, it’s been a huge improvement compared to what the team was doing under Mourinho before he got the boot.
Chelsea were in the relegation battle when Hiddink took over, and after the 5-1 thrashing of Newcastle United on Saturday, they are now in 12th place. However, they most likely won’t be able to push for a European Cup spot, and their best chance of making it to the Champions League next season will be by winning it this year.
The players seemed to have gotten fed up with Mourinho and his antics that got more and more bizarre as the season went on. After one game, Mourinho even said that he was “betrayed” by the players, and at that point the writing was on the wall for the Portuguese manager.
Hiddink has been in this situation before, as he was the interim manager for Chelsea back in 2009 when the club had fired Luiz Felipe Scolari, and he guided them to a FA Cup title. He lost only one game last time he was in charge and he’s gotten of to a good start this time around as well. Unlike Mourinho, Hiddink is more reserved in his dealings with the media and his calmness seems to have had a good effect on the whole squad.
“We are unbeaten since December but we weren’t really proud because there were too many draws, we wanted the status of being unbeaten with victories, that’s why this is good,” Hiddink said after the 5-1 win over Newcastle.
“We tried to surprise them in the early period of the game, in which we succeeded with two beautiful goals, and the first 20 minutes were decisive.
“We have two big games coming up. We’ll see what the damage is tomorrow after an intense game but it’s good to go there coming off a win.
“The only thing we are not happy with, which is a good sign, was when we conceded the goal. We were sloppy in losing possession and we didn’t defend well. I was happy to see the players were not happy.”
The last part of his quote shows that the players have more fire in them now than under Mourinho. The 5-1 win over Newcastle is a great way to head into the Champions League Round of 16 matchup against French champions Paris Saint-Germain. They will be underdogs, but with the newfound confidence, they will put up a fight in an effort to salvage what has been a very forgettable season.
Diego Costa looks more like last season’s Diego Costa and despite some injuries to important players, they have kept the unbeaten run going. Hiddink seems to be a good motivator, that has come in to do a solid job while the board and owner Roman Abramovich search for the next full-time manager to take over the club.