Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hiddink Presence Haunts Blues Boss

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hiddink Presence Haunts Blues Boss

Article excerpt

ANDRE Villas-Boas was today trying to pick up the pieces of Chelsea's worst start to a season in the Roman Abramovich era as it emerged the shadow of Guus Hiddink would continue to hang over him until at least next year.

Villas-Boas was last night confident he retained the full backing of billionaire Blues owner Abramovich in the wake of his side's 2-1 defeat to Liverpool, which left them a massive 12 points adrift of Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester City.

Three defeats in four league games have raised the spectre of a second successive winter of discontent at Stamford Bridge, something dubbed the "bad moment" by Villas-Boas' predecessor Carlo Ancelotti and a major factor behind the Italian losing his job over the summer.

The same fate will doubtless befall his successor sooner or later if he fails to arrest a slide which will see Chelsea drop out of the top four tonight providing Tottenham do not lose to Aston Villa.

Concerns over Champions League qualification saw Hiddink parachuted in to rescue the Blues' season when Luiz Felipe Scolari was sacked almost three years ago.

There is no suggestion Abramovich has any plans to do the same but, while Hiddink is on the market, he will loom large as Chelsea's likely knight in shining armour. Agent Cees van Nieuwenhuizen confirmed today his fellow Dutchman would take the rest of the year off before making his next move.

Revealing Hiddink had received five offers from clubs and countries across the globe in the days since he lost his job as Turkey boss, he said: "We have said to all of them he would first take a break and think over his future and then will come back somewhere maybe in January."

Confirming the jobs offered were a mixture of coaching roles and directorships, Van Nieuwenhuizen refused to confirm or deny whether Chelsea were one of the clubs who had approached the 65-year-old, although it is understood they were not.

Friday saw Villas-Boas suggest there would be no room for Hiddink in the Blues' existing management structure, but that did not prevent the Dutchman talking up his close links with Abramovich 24 hours later. …

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