Hiddink ends his watch on a high
Lampard strike gives Chelsea the Cup as Dutchman returns to Russia with love – now for Ancelotti's turn
Sunday 31 May 2009
Guus Hiddink will return from London to Moscow this week to resume his coaching position with the Russian national team after concluding a three-month period in charge of Chelsea by winning the club's first trophy since Jose Mourinho left two years ago. Unfortunate not to have reached the Champions' League final as well, he departed after three months having lost only one of his 22 games, with the gratitude of the club's players, who presented him with an engraved watch as Roman Abramovich, the owner, joined a celebration dance in the dressing-room.
"We worked so hard since February and I respect these guys very much," Hiddink said. "This is the highlight, to win the FA Cup. When I was younger, there was one Saturday in May you had to find a television to watch the FA Cup. My only regret is not playing Manchester United a few days ago [in Rome]. So it was almost a perfect goodbye." The latest ever final, on the cusp of June, was played in fierce heat, which affected the tempo of the game after a lively opening spell, during which Chelsea fell behind to Louis Saha's goal; the quickest in Cup final history at 25 seconds.
As against Southend, Watford and Arsenal in previous rounds, they had the quality and character to recover. Didier Drogba equalised and Frank Lampard won the Cup with his 20th goal of the season. Everton's manager David Moyes felt the early goal inspired Chelsea as much as his own team, and that "we found ourselves chasing the ball". He also pointed out that his side were missing Mikel Arteta, Yakubu and Phil Jagielka, "the equivalent of John Terry, Frank Lampard and [Didier] Drogba".
Chelsea hope to confirm Carlo Ancelotti as their new manager as early as tomorrow, once his current club Milan have played their final Serie A match this afternoon away to Fiorentina. If all goes to plan, his first signing is expected to be the versatile left-sided Russian Yuri Zhirkov. But David Beckham, currently on loan at Milan, says he does not expect to rejoin Ancelotti at Stamford Bridge.
Everton, needing to strengthen their squad for a campaign in the Europa League next season, may offer a pay-per-game contract to boyhood fan Michael Owen, whose father Terry played for the club 40 years ago.
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