Golden Guus gets off to a flier
There are no divisions in my squad, insists new Chelsea manager as Anelka goal lifts Blues above Villa into third place
Sunday 22 February 2009
Guus Hiddink was delighted with Chelsea’s attitude and ability as they won his first official match in charge, beating Aston Villa 1-0 to move above them to third place in the Premier League. Nicolas Anelka scored the goal, his 21st of the season, having been picked as well as Didier Drogba for the second successive week.
“I’d heard stories about divisions [in the squad] but I didn’t see them,” Hiddink said. “Having heard stories, I was surprised by the attitude. The team are pleased and satisfied after a week of good work, especially here, where you have to play a team not beaten for a long time. We can be very pleased with the way we played, especially in the first half. The only critical thing you can say about that is that we didn’t finish it off.”
Frank Lampard, who was outstanding, set up Anelka for the goal in that period, before Villa came back into the game, Ashley Young striking the bar from a free-kick. “In the second half we sat back a little bit too much,” Hiddink admitted. “We lost some easy balls by a lack of movement by other members of the team. We were a little bit too static. So we can improve. But overall it’s pleasing to get that away game in our pocket.”
It was a disappointing end to a big week for Villa, who have lost twice and drawn once in the space of seven days. Victory would have put them level on points with Liverpool, who play Manchester City today, but once again they proved unable to overcome one of the rivals they are trying to supersede. Their manager Martin O’Neill refused to be downcast, however. “Without wanting to make an excuse, three games in seven days had an effect,” he said. “We’re far from finished and there’s no dent in our belief. We’re disappointed but we’re sitting fourth in the table. Sometimes you can read too much into one result.”
O’Neill did admit, however, that like other teams before them, Villa are finding a Uefa Cup campaign has its drawbacks in causing injuries and fixture congestion. “We spent all last year breaking our necks to get into it, started in July in the InterToto Cup and now we’re having a second look at it,” he said. “The big four teams have the squads to cope and that’s something we’ll have to learn.”
Latest in Sport
Manchester United vs Chelsea: Louis van Gaal - I could have axed Ryan Giggs and I could have sacked Jose Mourinho, too!
Manchester United vs Chelsea: Radamel Falcao a doubt for Premier League clash
Real Madrid vs Barcelona player ratings: Luis Suarez rated on his debut
Gus Poyet future: Sunderland manager on brink after Arsenal pile misery on top of 8-0 defeat
Manchester United vs Chelsea analysis: Simplest errors at the back are leaving United very vulnerable, writes Danny Higginbotham
- 1 Stem cells that can kill cancer have been engineered by scientists
- 2 Ricky Gervais and Dame Judi Dench back campaign to stop Thailand dog meat trade
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Queen's first tweet: Reply telling Her Majesty to 'f*** off' broadcast on BBC News
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are