Hiddink gets tough with Barça

Like his Chelsea team at the Nou Camp, manager Guus Hiddink knows how to put up a pretty bullish defence when it is required. Barcelona continue to complain about the English side's negative approach and supposed strong-arm tactics in Tuesday's 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.

But Hiddink was having none of it yesterday, as he calmly responded to the Barça moans with a simple but effective refrain. Sounding more like a no-nonsense PE teacher from a bygone era than a multi-lingual football manager of the 21st century, Hiddink repeated the mantra: "It's a man's game."

Chelsea's temporary manager was totally unrepentant about his side's display. He denied they were in the slightest bit dirty, and blamed Barcelona's dominance of possession for his team's lack of goal threat. Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta had claimed Chelsea's "system seems to be to kick us." But the idea is an anathema to Hiddink, who is the most successful coach ever in the Netherlands, a country revered almost as much as Brazil for playing the beautiful game.

"I emphasise on being a winner, not giving in and starting to cry when it's not going well," Hiddink said. "It was a man's match. We don't like to allow them to take the victory. This team has the character to fight as well. There were some collisions, some friction, but from both sides. It's a man's game.

"I challenge and invite everyone to watch the DVD to see what really happened. There was one challenge from Michael Ballack that was punished with a yellow card from the referee. It's a man's game. We played our game. We don't like to lose; we want to win in a proper way. But if we can't play in the way we like, we don't throw in the towel." Hiddink said Barcelona were no saints. "If you can't easily win, you must not be easily beaten," he said. "But it's the same for Barcelona. They have Touré, Abidal, Pique and Puyol who understand this approach so well. It's not a black and white situation."

Hiddink also bridled at suggestions that Barcelona's 4-0 thrashing of Bayern Munich in the first leg of the quarter-finals had made him fearful and negative. "We can't say 'sorry' for not conceding a goal. You can't call it 'anti-football'," he said. "I'd like to have taken a little bit more of the initiative, but they are a disciplined team as well. Under Pep Guardiola, they know how to defend firmly. Fear? No. We don't know fear."

Hiddink would like to rest key players from today's derby with Fulham ahead of the return leg with Barcelona on Wednesday but said he would resist the temptation to tinker too much, with Arsenal on their shoulders in the race for third place. "The first target was to get to the Champions League directly," said Hiddink. "The fourth place is a back door, but we want one of the first three places."

Life and Style
A nearly completed RoboThespian robot inside the Engineered Arts workshop is tested in Penryn, England. The Cornish company, operating from an industrial unit near Falmouth, is the world's only maker of commercially available life sized humanoid robots
techSuper-intelligent robots could decide destroying the human race is the kindest thing to do
News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
newsComedian Lee Hurst started trend with first tweet using the hashtag
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Extras
indybest

Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition