Chelsea bet on Hiddink to recapture Midas Touch
Chelsea had reappointed Guus Hiddink as interim manager hoping the veteran Dutch coach can rediscover the golden touch that brought the Londoners the FA Cup in his first stint at Stamford Bridge.
The news comes just a day after Chelsea parted ways with Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho as the Premier League champions languish just a point above the relegation zone.
Hiddink won the European Cup in 1988 with Dutch outfit PSV Eindhoven, took Holland to fourth at the 1998 World Cup, South Korea to the semi-finals in 2002 and Australia to the second round in 2006.
His club coaching career started at De Graafschap and then PSV, where he made his name by winning four straight Dutch titles and three domestic Cups in a fabulous spell between 1986 and 1990.
The 1988 season was a runaway success as he led PSV to the Championship-Cup double, and their first ever European Cup, defeating Benfica in the final on penalties to complete a unique treble.
The other pinnacle to his coaching career came as the first foreigner at the helm of South Korea, whom he guided past Portugal, Italy and Spain on the way to the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup on home soil before falling to Germany.
Chelsea’s billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich turned to Hiddink in February 2009 after he had fired Luiz Felipe Scolari and the man renowned for his tactical nous and inspirational man-management revitalised their flailing fortunes in his short spell in charge.
On his watch, the Blues were knocked out of the Champions League in controversial circumstances by Barcelona on the away goals rule after Andres Iniesta snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in injury-time.
Hiddink did however deliver the 2009 FA Cup thanks to a 2-1 win over Everton at Wembley before passing on the baton to Carlo Ancelotti.
That run of success then seems to come to something of a shuddering halt with two notable flops in charge of Turkey and the Netherlands for the now 69-year-old.
Lambasted by the Turkish press after his appointment in 2010 because of his generous salary and the fact he never moved to Turkey — only going there to prepare for matches — his cold, calculated style never caught the imagination of the passionate Turks.
So when they failed to make the cut for Euro 2012 with a 3-0 play-off defeat to Croatia, he jumped ship and resigned.
There then followed a lucrative move to the unusual outpost of Anzhi Makhachkala in Dagestan, whom he quit a few matches into his second season with no great success of note.
The real shock however came after he took over the Dutch national team from Luis van Gaal, who had overseen a positive 2014 World Cup run to the semi-finals.
Euro 2016 qualifying defeats to the Czech Republic and Iceland and a draw with Turkey were bad enough to see Hiddink leave the post to his assistant Danny Blind.
“Unfortunately the rewards of Guus’s work weren’t immediately visible to everyone,” said KNVB director of football Bert van Oostveen.
Blind then failed to qualify the Dutch for the 24-team European Championships, but Hiddink was the one fingers of blame were pointed at.
Abramovich and Chelsea then are betting on the tactical master to find his form of old in this second stint with the London club.
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