Guus Hiddink returns as Chelsea manager
Dutchman replaces Jose Mourinho
He is in charge until end of season
Mourinho "already looking forward"
After the departure of the “Special One” comes Chelsea’s latest iteration of the “Interim One.”
Guus Hiddink has been appointed temporary boss of the struggling English soccer champion for the second time following Jose Mourinho’s sacking on Thursday.
“I am excited to return to Stamford Bridge,” Hiddink was quoted as saying in a statement on Chelsea’s website. “Chelsea is one of the biggest clubs in the world but is not where it should be at the moment.
“However, I am sure we can all turn this season around.”
The veteran Dutchman filled in as manager between February and June 2009 after the Blues parted company with Luiz Felipe Scolari midway through another unsatisfactory season.
Hiddink led the London side to a UEFA Champions League semifinal, losing on away goals to Pep Guardiola’s treble-winning Barcelona team, before securing FA Cup success over Everton in his last match in charge.
He was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti shortly after.
In a trophy-laden managerial career that has stretched over four decades, the 69-year-old has also won four Dutch titles and the European Cup (the forerunner to the Champions League) with PSV Eindhoven, and the now defunct Intercontinental Cup – played between the champions of Europe and South America – during a short at the helm of Spanish giant Real Madrid.
Hiddink guided his country to the semifinals of the 1998 World Cup in France, and repeated that feat at the 2002 World Cup with unheralded co-host South Korea.
He has also coached the national teams of Russia, Australia and Turkey, but his second stint with the Netherlands was cut short in June 2015 after a poor start to the Euro 2016 qualifiers.
The tag of the “Interim One” was first used by Chelsea fans to pejoratively describe Rafael Benitez during his temporary stint in charge between November 2012 and June 2013.
However, Hiddink was a far more popular figure during his time at Stamford Bridge.
The abrasive Benitez was resented for remarks made about the club’s supporters when he was manager of rivals Liverpool.
Hiddink will be in the stands to watch his new side take on Sunderland, Saturday, with coaches Eddie Newton and Steve Holland expected to take charge of team affairs until he begins his new role next week.
Chelsea went into the match 16th in the English Premier League table, one point clear of the relegation zone.
Mourinho, the club’s most successful manager after clinching its fifth league title last season, was sacked following Monday’s defeat to surprise leader Leicester City.
Although Chelsea secured qualification to the last 16 of the Champions League this month, the Portuguese coach was under pressure due to poor domestic form.
His side had won only four out of 16 league matches, losing nine and drawing three, before the ax finally fell.
Mourinho breaks silence
Earlier on Saturday, the Portuguese issued his first statement since his departure via his co-representatives at CAA Sports and Polaris Sports.
“During his career, Jose has sometimes chosen to leave a club but only at Chelsea has the club decided that he should leave,” the statement read.
“He will not be taking a sabbatical, he isn’t tired, he doesn’t need it, he is very positive and is already looking forward.
“Mourinho is pleased that he returned to Chelsea Football Club because he was able to give the fans another Premier League title, which they had not won for many years. He is immensely proud of his eight trophies at Chelsea and thanks the fans for all their support throughout his two spells at the club.”
This season, Mourinho had been dogged by persistent rumors that Chelsea players were unhappy with his management style, while the role he played in the departure of club doctor Eva Carneiro won him few admirers.