Despite the Blues’ nightmare start to the season, interim manager Guus Hiddink has lofty ambitions for the remaining five months of the season
Chelsea FC will have to make history to finish in the top four of the Premier League, with no club ever managing to finish higher than 5th after making as bad a start as the Blues have made this season. That, however, is the target new manager Guus Hiddink has set for his players.
The Stamford Bridge outfit were knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Stoke City on penalties in the fourth round, but still remain in the UEFA Champions League, with another domestic cup competition — the F.A. Cup — set to get underway next month.
Hiddink, who won the latter with the Blues in 2009, has targeted the competition as well as progression in the Champions League, which the Blues will find difficult to do having been drawn against French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
The Dutchman is quoted by the Daily Mail as saying: “Generally, I set targets. If the target is impossible, don’t do it.
“But I did put that to them, because mathematically it’s possible, to get into fourth position. Then the Champions League. Then the FA Cup. Three targets still to go.
“On top of that – or as a foundation of that – they must show now what they’re capable of. As a consequence, then, you go to those targets.”
However, the 69-year-old also acknowledged that there are major differences in the Chelsea FC side he managed in 2009 and the one he has inherited in 2015, hinting that there are fewer natural leaders or ‘big personalities’ in the dressing room.
“The players at that time were big players, leaders,” Hiddink added. “Although they were not performing well, they were Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack and Michael Essien. Now we also have big players, but it’s difficult to compare.”
Lack of big personalities Hiddink’s greatest challenge
The Dutchman has already — consciously or otherwise — revealed the biggest challenge he’ll be faced with during his time as interim Chelsea FC manager. Unlike the previous squad he inherited, there is a distinct lack of big personalities in the squad, with the notable exceptions of John Terry and vice-captain Branislav Ivanovi .
Hiddink will have his work cut out in terms of building up the confidence of a broken team. The team cannot be left on auto-pilot for the remainder of the season, and needs a collected, competent leader in order to try and salvage something from a year that is unlikely to go down as one of the greatest in the Blues’ history.