The day Jose Mourinho was fired for the second time as Chelsea manager, it seemed as if there was no way out for the Stamford Bridge club. Since that time, Guus Hiddink has come in, and stabilized the ship to a degree.
Much like his first stint with the club, Hiddink has got the love and respect from his players, and most importantly has not lost too many matches. Since taking over in December, Hiddink has lost just once – vs. PSG in Champions League Round of 16 first leg last week.
Hiddink has guided Chelsea from a position of free-fall to a state of self belief and stability. While it may look surprising to many, but the Dutchman has been doing it for years and years, and still does a pretty good job at it.
So how has he managed to turn a serial losing Chelsea side to a team, who now are hoping to finish in the top 8 of Premier League table this season? We take a look at five Reasons why Guus Hiddink has been a success at Chelsea.
Father Figure – Perhaps the most crucial aspect about Guus Hiddink’s management style is the ability to put his arms around the players and make hear them out. There is distinct change in the level of commitment from Chelsea players since he has taken over at the club.
Hiddink has managed to create a comradery among the players at Stamford Bridge, and he does come across as a person who is accessible to his players.
Man Management – Jose Mourinho protected his players from getting based by the media, but he ended up having clashes with those very individuals. That is where, Hiddink has come in and cleared the air and is now even getting the best out of John Obi Mikel.
Mikel’s resurgence is the biggest impact Hiddink has had at Chelsea and in a way has surpassed Mourinho in terms of handling players at Stamford Bridge.
Despite the tactical troubles, Mourinho did not trust Mikel as his holding midfielder, however, since Hiddink has taken over, Mikel has looked a different player and is the real reason behind the club’s revival.
Relaxed dressing room atmosphere – It is not a secret that during the last weeks of Mourinho’s reign, Chelsea’ s dressing room had become toxic. Players were against him and did not want to play for him.
All of that has changed since Hiddink has come in. The Dutchman has sorted out what was bothering the players, and has turned it around for the club. Players looks happy while training and on the pitch, which is showing in the results as well.
Getting the best out of Fabregas-Costa partnership – When Chelsea won their fourth Premier League title last season, the link-up play between Fabregas and Costa was a key factor. Earlier in the season, both players were low on confidence and were on the verge of quitting the club.
Hiddink has come in and sorted their problem which is obvious in the way Costa has netted 7 goals in his last 10 games. As for Fabregas, it is no longer a problem where he plays, he is having a huge impact in dictating Chelsea’s play.
Shackle-free football – With Mourinho, there was always a degree of safety-first formula. Hiddink, however, has allowed the players to express themselves on the pitch and enjoy their football.
Full-backs are now venturing forward and making decisive impact in the outcome of games. The Dutchman has certainly changed the mood at Stamford Bridge and saved Chelsea’s season from going bad to worse.
Image credit: getty