London. Dec. 18, (GNA/dpa) – Chelsea are set to turn again to Guus Hiddink as a short-term replacement for Jose Mourinho, who was sacked as manager on Thursday after what the club later described as “a palpable discord between manager and players.”
The Dutchman Hiddink stepped in to the breach in 2009, managing the club for four months after the sacking of Luis Felipe Scolari.
A disappointing spell in charge of the Netherlands national team has not put off Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, with reports saying Hiddink has already been given the role.
“I do not know if it is officially confirmed, whether the club has announced it, but Guus told me earlier,” former Chelsea striker Mateja Kezman was quoted as saying by Croatian website Index.
“I think this decision is correct and Guus Hiddink is a great choice.”
The Australian football federation took the unusual step of saying the decision had already been made.
“Guus Hiddink has taken temporary charge at struggling EPL giant Chelsea after the club announced they’d sacked Coach Jose Mourinho overnight following the club’s disastrous run in the English Premier League,” it said.
Bookmakers reported a flood of money for Hiddink and the Dutchman could be in charge as early as next week, according to reports.
Seven months after Mourinho took them to the title, Chelsea lie 16th in the Premier League, one point above the relegation zone.
The club said the decision had been “by mutual consent” but later released a video interview with Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo in which he described a “palpable discord between manager and players.”
Mourinho’s sacking was greeted with shock in some quarters, with Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce among those to express his surprise.
“I’m sad to see Mourinho go because I got to know him quite well and he’s a great character,” he said. “He’s a loss to the Premier League.
“Because of the underachievement at Chelsea, even a great manager like JosÃ© has lost his job.”
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, now a pundit with Sky Sports, said Abramovich had made the right decision.
“Everyone in football knows if it’s between the players and the manager, they will fire the manager because it’s very difficult to get rid of a whole group of players,” Carragher told Sky.
“He did a fantastic job and maybe didn’t get the recognition he deserved really, because Chelsea had been out of the running for the title for a few years before he came back.
“This season, with the way that he manages, he’s very demanding of the players, he doesn’t accept defeat, he’s hung them out to dry publicly. I think he’s probably tried everything as a manager to get results and it hasn’t worked.
“There’s been a major fallout between him and the players, because no group of players of that quality should be where they are,” he said.