Chelsea have announced that Guus Hiddink will take over as temporary coach until the end of the season. Hiddink, who will continue to coach the Russian national side, replaces Luiz Felipe Scolari, who was fired on Monday.
The Dutchman is currently in Turkey with the Russian squad and is likely to be a spectator at Chelsea’s FA Cup fifth round tie at Watford on Saturday, with the Premier League clash at Aston Villa on 21 February his first in charge.
“It’s never enough time to prepare a team in one week but this is an exceptional situation,” Hiddink added. “Chelsea have good players and they should be in top form and that should make my job easier.”
The Blues currently lie fourth in the table, seven points adrift of leaders Manchester United, who have a game in hand, with assistant Ray Wilkins coaching the team on an interim basis.
Hiddink, contracted to Russia until the end of the 2010 World Cup, said before his appointment that he only intended to help out until the end of the season.
“It’s a favour for a friend,” said the former Netherlands, South Korea and Australia coach, who has close ties to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich. Abramovich does so much for Russian football that I wanted to give something back. He called me personally.”
With Chelsea struggling for form, Hiddink revealed he planned to contact his predecessor Scolari within the next two days to discuss team matters.
Hiddink said he would not be bringing in new assistants “at this time” and regarding playing personnel, he added: “I always want to see the situation in the team myself first before making any changes if they have to be made.”
AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti is considered the favourite to take over on a permanent basis next summer.