Ambitious China Seek Hiddink’s Help To Fulfil Olympic Hopes

Dutch coach Guus Hiddink (file)

 

Highly respected Dutch coach Guus Hiddink looks poised to take on a leading role in China’s aggressive push to finally become a force in international football.

The 71-year-old was pictured this week — glasses perched on his nose and taking notes — watching China’s under-21 side beat Myanmar 1-0 at home, amid reports that he is set to be formally appointed coach to lead the team into the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

When confirmed by the Chinese Football Association (CFA), the former Dutch national team manager will join another well-known veteran, the Italian World Cup winner Marcello Lippi, in China’s coaching set-up.

The 70-year-old Lippi has been in charge of the senior side since 2016 and overseen a steady improvement, although China still failed to reach the World Cup in Russia and languish at 75th in the FIFA rankings.

“Although the Chinese Football Association has not officially announced it, the famous coach Hiddink has begun to enter the role of head coach,” the state Xinhua news agency said, noting that he remained in the stands during the under-21s’ win over Myanmar on Tuesday.

Soccer News said that Hiddink — whose last job was a caretaker spell at Chelsea in 2015-2016 — met the players before the game.

The Dutchman will be paid just less than four million euros ($4.7 million) a year after tax, Chinese media have said.

He is being brought in as the Tokyo 2020 Games loom into view and as the Chinese government pushes an ambitious agenda to ramp up football from grassroots all the way to the senior team.

Like Lippi, Hiddink comes with a wealth of experience at club and international level.

In addition to his two emergency stints at Chelsea, he also coached Real Madrid, PSV Eindhoven and Valencia, among others.

Hiddink is perhaps best known for inspiring co-hosts South Korea to a shock semi-final spot at the 2002 World Cup.

AFP

Chelsea Offer John Terry One-Year Contract

John Terry, ChelseaChelsea captain, John Terry, has been offered a new one-year contract on Friday.

The Blues confirmed the English professional footballer’s extension on its website and twitter handle.

Interim manager, Guus Hiddink, who is preparing for his final Premier League match against champions, Leicester City, at the Stamford Bridge on Sunday said that Terry was considering the offer.

The 35-year-old former England defender would be out of contract at the end of the season.

He made his debut in 1998 and has played more than 700 games for the West London side.

Aguero Treble Sinks Chelsea, Puts Pressure On Arsenal

AgueroSergio Aguero continued his good scoring form with a hat-trick as Manchester City beat 10-man Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.

The striker has 13 goals in his last 12 top-flight appearances and his display helped Man City move up to third position ahead of Arsenal, who play Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Kevin De Bruyne was a constant menace for City on his first return to the club who sold him in 2014, playing a key role in Aguero’s first two goals, which both came from swift counter-attacks.

Thibaut Courtois was shown a red card for fouling Fernandinho inside the box, and Aguero was afforded the chance to complete his hat-trick. He made no mistake.

Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri returned to the starting line-up but David Silva was rested with an ongoing ankle injury.

Chelsea also welcomed Courtois, Gary Cahill and Willian back into the team but their return could not save the defending champions.

With this loss, Guus Hiddink’s men have won just one of their last seven matches in all competitions.

Meanwhile, in other matches played on Saturday, Aston Villa were relegated to English football’s second tier for the first time since 1987 after defeat at Manchester United.

Newcastle claimed a first win under Rafael Benitez as they overcame Swansea to bolster their chances of survival.

Sunderland also climbed to within a point of safety by beating relegation rivals Norwich 3-0 at Carrow road.

Southampton’s hopes of a European spot suffered a setback as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Everton.

Saido Berahino missed two second-half penalties as Watford hung on for a narrow win against West Brom.

Chelsea Announce Antonio Conte As Head Coach

Antonio ConteChelsea Football Club has announced the appointment of Antonio Conte as First Team Head Coach.

Conte, who is currently the manager of the Italy national side, has signed a three-year contract. He will begin work in London following his country’s participation in this summer’s Euro 2016 tournament.

The 46-year-old said: “I am very excited about the prospect of working at Chelsea Football Club. I am proud to be the coach of the national team of my country and only a role as attractive as manager of Chelsea could follow that.

“I am looking forward to meeting everyone at the club and the day-to-day challenge of competing in the Premier League.

“Chelsea and English football are watched wherever you go, the fans are passionate and my ambition is to have more success to follow the victories I enjoyed in Italy.

“I am happy we have made the announcement now so everything is clear and we can end the speculation. I will continue to focus on my job with the Italian national team and will reserve speaking about Chelsea again until after the Euros.”

Conte will be the fifth Italian to manage Chelsea, following on from Gianluca Vialli, Claudio Ranieri, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Di Matteo. In common with the first three of those names, he was formerly at Juventus, in his case as both a player and a manager.

Having played more than 400 games for the Italian giants, Conte’s three years in charge of the team between 2011 and 2014 yielded three straight Serie A titles – Juventus’s first league championships in eight years and their first three-in-a-row since the early 1930s. They had finished seventh the two seasons prior to Conte.

The Bianconeri also won two Italian Super Cups with him in charge. Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Carlos Tevez and Arturo Vidal were among his signings during a spell so productive he was named Serie A Coach of the Year in all three seasons there.

Chelsea Director Marina Granovskaia said, “We are very pleased to have recruited one of the most highly regarded managers in world football and we are equally pleased to do so before the end of the current season. This aids our future planning.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Guus Hiddink, who has done a great job since he joined us in December.”

Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck added, “Antonio Conte has a record of consistent success in his career as a manager and as a player. We look forward to welcoming him to Stamford Bridge and are confident he will find all he needs to maintain that high standard of achievement.”

Guus Hiddink Hints At Possible Pato Debut

Guus HiddinkGuus Hiddink says Alexandre Pato could make his Barclays Premier League debut when Chelsea visit Aston Villa on Saturday.

The 26-year-old Brazilian joined Chelsea on loan from Corinthians in January and has yet to feature, but interim manager Hiddink says the forward’s fitness may have put him into the frame for the visit to Villa Park.

“Whether Pato will be actively involved we will see tomorrow,” Hiddink told chelseafc.com. “I don’t give any player a guarantee but there might be some time for experiments.

“Pato’s fitness has improved. He has worked very hard during the international break. When I started we had just Diego which was one of the reasons we got Pato on loan.

“Meanwhile there was development in, for instance, [Bertrand] Traore, so there was more competition for Pato. Remy has come back after a long-term injury too. I try to make a fair judgement and give opportunities to the others knocking on the door,” he said.

Focusing on the match itself, Hiddink expects the home side to be rejuvenated as they seek to impress new caretaker manager Eric Black.

”They were playing with a lot of ambition against Swansea. The team looked very fresh. When there is a change there is automatically a reaction. We can expect an entertaining game tomorrow.”

Chelsea Manager Reacts To Champions League Exit

ChelseaChelsea’s interim manager, Guus Hiddink, says his side showed too much respect to Paris St-Germain (PSG) as the Blues exited this season’s UEFA Champions League.

Hiddink lamented that the hosts lost their cutting edge when Diego Costa went off injured in the second half of the game.

Chelsea, who are currently 10th in the English Premier League, now have the FA Cup as their only hope of a trophy this season.

It was a dream come true for the League One side PSG, as they beat Chelsea 2-1 in Wednesday night’s second leg round-of-16 tie at the Stamford Bridge.

Midfielder Adrien Rabiot opened the scoring for Paris st-Germain (PSG) before Costa fired a fantastic shot to level the score board in the first half.

The morale of the French side went high in the second half as Zlatan Ibrahimovic set PSG on the lead with an assist from Angel Di Maria.

Eden Hazard has been largely criticised for his role in the defeat and was booed by some Chelsea fans when he was substituted 13 minutes from time.

Hazard swapped shirts with PSG winger Angel Di Maria as the players left the field at half time and this did not impress the fans.

But defender, Branislav Ivanovic has jumped into the defence of the midfielder, arguing that the Belgian showed his commitment to the cause by playing.

“People have to think about the fact he started the game injured,” Ivanovic told Evening Standard.

“Did that show how committed he is? Yes. Of course when you lose a game the fans are not happy and they have to be like that.

“But in my opinion it was one of his best performances so far. He was very strong and quick. He wanted to score and had a couple of actions where he looked like last season.”

Ibrahimovic Not After Revenge At Chelsea

IbrahimovicZlatan Ibrahimovic says he is not looking for revenge against Chelsea in Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League.

The last appearance of the Paris St Germain (PSG) striker at the English side’s home lasted 31 minutes before he was sent off last season.

Ibrahimovic is confident PSG would win the champions league soon with him or without him, as long as their owners keep hold of the club.

However, Chelsea interim manager, Guus Hiddink, says he hopes his players can delay PSG’s aim to win the league title when they meet in the second leg round-of-16 tie.

Hiddink is confident his side would actually repeat the 2012 feat when they beat the runaway League One leaders.

PSG have led the tie with a 2-1 win from the first leg, expressing determination to win the champions league for the first time.

Chelsea Beat Norwich 2-1, Score Season’s Quickest Goal

Chelsea-Norwich-league-gameChelsea FC on Tuesday scored the quickest goal in the English Premier League this season to set the club on its way to a 2-1 win over Norwich.

Young Brazilian, Kenedy scored after 39 seconds with a shot into the bottom corner from just outside the penalty area.

Diego Costa added Chelsea’s second goal just before halftime.

Norwich winger Nathan Redmond scored the team’s consolation goal from a tight angle after 68 minutes.

Chelsea, however, hung on for a win that provisionally left the team five points off a Europa League place, as its fine run of form under interim manager Guus Hiddink continued.

Norwich has not won a match in its last seven league games and has dropped into the relegation zone on 24 points.

EPL: Chelsea Set For Norwich, Leicester Loses Kante

EPLChelsea manager, Guus Hiddink, has confirmed Brazilian Alexandre Pato could make his debut soon for his side but that there is competition among the strikers.

The English Premier League champions signed Pato from Corinthians in January on loan until the end of the season but the 26-year-old has lacked match fitness.

Chelsea will face Norwich City in Tuesday night’s EPL clash and Hiddink says he is pleased with the progress of his squad since he took over in December.

Leicester City manager, Claudio Ranieri, says midfielder, N’golo Kante, will miss the night’s English Premier League clash against West Bromwich Albion with a hamstring injury.

Coach Ranieri said that the defensive midfielder would also miss the trip to Watford on Saturday.

Leicester lead second-placed Tottenham Hotspur by two points with 11 games left and Coach Ranieri admits his side still has a lot to play for.

Hiddink Stresses Joy As Element Of Success

HiddinkChelsea manager, Guus Hiddink, has highlighted ‘joy’ as the important element of success required to get his players performing at their best.

Speaking during an interview ahead of Sunday’s Manchester City clash, the Dutchman said that ‘the best comes out of a player when he plays with joy’.

“Players, even if they are high-profile, well-paid professionals as they are at this club, deep down they must play with joy,” the manager said on Chelsea’s website.

Hiddink pointed out that Joy is not always laughing but “enjoying being a professional, enjoying training and enjoying doing your job”.

“When you feel that naturally, the performance is unconditional,” he said while he described the blues” FA Cup tie with City as an ‘early final’.

Meanwhile, Manchester City boss, Manuel Pellegrini, had resolved to rest several senior players in the team, so that youngsters such as Bersant Celina and Manu Garcia could feature.

He hinted that Bacary Sagna was back in training and might return from a knee problem.

Chelsea Have Quality To Overcome PSG – Hiddink

ChelseaGuus Hiddink says his team are improving with every game and believes they have the quality to overcome Paris Saint-Germain and progress in the Champions League.

The absence of the skipper, John Terry, who has a minor problem with his hamstring and ligament, is a big blow, but Hiddink feels they are well equipped to cope.

“Well, it was not a decision made by me,” said the Chelsea manager.

“He was having too much trouble to travel. We made a test this morning and it didn’t work out well, so the decision was made to leave him at home. He was, himself, also convinced he could not be of worth to the team at the moment.

“He has a bit of a problem on his hamstring and on the tendon in that area. That’s why we had the test this morning and we decided he would not participate. It will be difficult to say whether he can play this weekend. That’s why we’d prefer him to keep undergoing treatment back at Cobham.

“We’ve practised with other people in at central defence, so it was not a surprise for the players that we had to make some changes. Of course, not having John is a bit of a setback. He’s a leader. But I’m not the type of coach to moan and moan. We have to go on. The players who will replace him I have complete faith in them.”

The current form of the team notwithstanding, Hiddink considers the Champions League a winnable trophy for Chelsea.

“It’s about winning the Champions League, not looking just to get back into it next year,” said Hiddink. “You have so many good teams, though, it’s very difficult. It’s beautiful to win a big, big cup.

“We are growing. Everyone knows the situation of Chelsea in recent months and weeks. We have, step by step, tried to establish more security in the team. To play with the quality of players we have.

“We are not quite where we’d like to be. We’d like to have an array of games where you’ve imposed the way you like to play. We’ve tried to do that step by step. But to give even more security, you need a number of games won where you’ve controlled and been dominant.”

Paris Saint-Germain have been impressive domestically this season, but Hiddink feels the teams are evenly matched.

“It’s 50-50,” he said. “If you see where we are now and where PSG are now, they are building a very strong team and dominating the French league completely. They are 24 points ahead, and are focusing to get this Champions League. A big club has to win the Champions League.

“The league didn’t start well for us this year, and we’ve had some recovery from December up to now, but we’re desperate to get into the next round of the Champions League.

“It’s a big test for us to get into the next round and I hope we can do something to swing it to our advantage.”

Hiddink Wary Of Watford Strike Force

HiddinkChelsea’s interim manager, Guus Hiddink, warns that his side would need to be wary of Watford’s strike force when the two sides meet on Wednesday night’s English Premier League.

The Dutchman also said Brazil play-maker, William was a fit for the visit to Watford.

Chelsea’s new signings are unlikely to feature in the starting line-up against 10th-placed Watford.

Meanwhile, Eden Hazard, scoring his first goal of the season and his 50th overall for Chelsea in the FA Cup win drew plenty of attention, even as Hiddink looks at the bigger picture.

The Blues’ manager also spoke about Hazard being on an upward curve in terms of performance and fitness.

“I don’t know if that goal is a big, big issue. Eden scored although, the ball was rather static and of course you would prefer to make a goal from an open-play attack, which is the next step, but I think he is not so worried about that.

“The key for him and for us is that he is coming to the level where he can play repeatedly and do a lot of actions,” Hiddink said on the club’s website.