Bridge of sighs bids farewell to Hiddink

Chelsea 2 Blackburn Rovers 0

Emotions ran high at Stamford Bridge for the second successive match but instead of the anger and frustration which marked the conclusion of Chelsea's Champions League campaign the mood was one of sadness and gratitude.

Yesterday marked the beginning of Guus Hiddink's long goodbye as the Dutch caretaker took charge of Chelsea for the last time at home. He signed off with a comfortable victory, goals from Florent Malouda and Nicolas Anelka only hinting at Chelsea's superiority, and the fondest of farewells.

Throughout the afternoon a banner adorned the Matthew Harding Stand reading "Thanks Guus", sentiments that were echoed in the match programme by John Terry and Bruce Buck. The chairman also wrote that the club hoped to make an announcement about their latest new manager "sooner rather than later".

The supporters then made it clear their belief that no such appointment should be required. Chants of "One Guus Hiddink" gave way to "We want you to stay", at which Roman Abramovich was seen laughing. The owner, and the expected next manager, Carlo Ancelotti, were then given something to ponder as the choristers broke into a pointed refrain, "You can stick your Ancelotti up your arse."

Hiddink had by then risen from his seat to give a stiff, slightly embarrassed, bow. During Chelsea's post-match lap of honour he was less restrained, dancing up a guard of honour with the former player Roy Bentley, who was celebrating his 85th birthday.

Quite what Avram Grant would have made of this is anybody's guess. Like Hiddink he took over mid-season as the club reeled from a high-profile management departure. From a lower position he oversaw a second-placed Premier League finish (Hiddink's Chelsea will come third) and lost the Champions League final on penalties (Hiddink reached the semi-final). Yet he was barely tolerated by the fans.

"I've only been here a short time and I did not expect something of this magnitude," said Hiddink. "It was a big surprise. I thought it would be respectful, but not more. I have had second thoughts, third thoughts [about staying] but I have to leave. I feel sadness, but that is the reality. I am committed to the adventure in Russia."

Unlike Grant, Hiddink may finish the season with a trophy, the FA Cup. Chelsea are favourites to beat Everton at Wembley on 30 May and Hiddink gave his first-choice team the chance to rehearse. Only Michael Ballack, hit by flu, was absent. They were impressive, but Everton will provide more demanding opposition than Blackburn, who had relaxed after their safety was assured by Saturday's results.

In the fourth minute no one challenged Jose Bosingwa as he drove forward. No one was marking Anelka when he received the ball on the right. And Keith Andrews was too slow to pick up Malouda who met Anelka's cross with a header. Unlike his predecessors Hiddink has found a way to partner Didier Drogba and Anelka, and to draw consistently good performances from Malouda, without compromising the club's defensive strengths.

With Rovers, already injury-hit, losing both centre-halves it could have been a rout. Paul Robinson prevented that with a string of excellent saves but could not prevent Anelka drilling in his 18th league goal from Drogba's lay-off.

Hiddink, having noted Chelsea need to acquire more depth, and younger legs, this summer, concluded that he could return after the 2010 World Cup. "You cannot predict the future, but we'll see what happens when I leave Russia." Something else for Ancelotti, and any managerial target, to consider.

Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Bosingwa, Alex, Terry, A Cole; Essien, Mikel, Lampard; Anelka, Drogba, Malouda. Substitutes not used: Hilario (gk), Ivanovic, Di Santo, Sinclair, Belletti, Mancienne, Stoch.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Robinson; Andrews, Nelsen (Doran 43), Givet (Khizanishvili h/t), Warnock; Tugay, Grella, Villanueva; Diouf, Samba, Pedersen (McCarthy 65). Substitutes not used: Bunn (gk), Mokoena, Treacy, Olsson.

Referee: R Styles (Hampshire).

Booked: Chelsea Bosingwa. Blackburn Doran, Khizanishvili.

Man of the match: Anelka.

Attendance: 40,804.

Life and Style
love + sex
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all