Hiddink lurks as Chelsea struggle

PA Sport
Guus Hiddink
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Guus Hiddink

Andre Villas-Boas is trying to pick up the pieces of Chelsea's worst start to a season in the Roman Abramovich era as it emerged the shadow of Guus Hiddink would continue to hang over him until at least next year.

Villas-Boas is confident he retains the full backing of Blues owner Abramovich in the wake of his side's 2-1 defeat to Liverpool, which left them a massive 12 points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester City. Concerns over Champions League qualification saw Hiddink brought in to rescue the Blues' season when Luiz Felipe Scolari was sacked almost three years ago.

And revealing Hiddink had received five offers from clubs and countries across the globe in the days since he lost his job as Turkey boss, agent Cees van Nieuwenhuizen told Press Association Sport: "We have said to all of them that he would first take a break and think over his future and then will come back somewhere maybe in January."

Three defeats in four league games have raised the spectre of a second successive winter of discontent at Stamford Bridge, something dubbed the "bad moment" by Villas-Boas' predecessor Carlo Ancelotti, and a major factor behind the Italian losing his job over the summer.

The same fate will doubtless befall his successor sooner or later if he fails to arrest a slide that will see Chelsea drop out of the top four on Monday night providing Tottenham do not lose to Aston Villa.

Confirming the jobs offered were a mixture of coaching roles and directorships, Van Nieuwenhuizen refused to confirm or deny whether Chelsea were one of the clubs who had approached the 65-year-old, although it is understood they were not.

Friday saw Villas-Boas suggest there would be no room for Hiddink in the Blues' existing management structure but that did not prevent the Dutchman talking up his close links with Abramovich 24 hours later.

He told RT: "The relationship was and has been and will be very good. When I go to London, I am always welcome at Cobham (Chelsea's training ground) and the stadium. We don't speak every week but every now and then there is contact and I feel very welcome always.

"I have made a decision to stop the previous job and then one must take some time to reflect and look where there is a prestigious project, not just football but also through other things where I can help somewhere.

"I have enough energy to go on and, what the future brings, we will see."

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