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Chelsea news: Guus Hiddink will light Blues' fire, says John Terry

Chelsea captain ‘gutted’ for Mourinho but glad to see Dutch coach return

Miguel Delaney
Monday 21 December 2015 00:42 GMT
Chelsea’s Spanish midfielder Pedro, right, celebrates with Oscar, centre, and Cesc Fabregas after scoring against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea’s Spanish midfielder Pedro, right, celebrates with Oscar, centre, and Cesc Fabregas after scoring against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge (AFP/Getty)

John Terry believes Guus Hiddink can restore “a lot of passion and fire” to the Chelsea team after a dismal start to the season, but admitted that he was “gutted” about the sacking of Jose Mourinho.

The Chelsea captain, known to have been one of a minority of players who still fully backed the Portuguese by the end, said the players felt “responsible”.

Hiddink was confirmed as Chelsea’s interim manager on Saturday, just before the 3-1 win over Sunderland, returning to the club after a similar stint at Stamford Bridge in 2009. Knowing the Dutch coach from that time, Terry said he felt he had the personality to revitalise the club.

“It’s down to him to come in and pick us up,” Terry said. “He has seen today what we are capable of. I think the first half was excellent, the second half was a little deflated.

“What he will bring is a hunger to the squad, a lot of passion and a lot of fire. He will demand a lot of players on the training field and matches. I’ve seen it before that he can come in and shake things up in a positive way and move forward. That’s why the club has made this decision.

“If he has watched today and seen us recently, maybe he will see that we have been lacking a little bit of confidence because we haven’t been firing and playing as well as we would have liked. Today was a step in the right direction so he comes in off the back of that win with a lot to look forward to.

“I’ve seen it myself: we are capable of putting in performances like that week after week. And it starts on the training field. We will put in the work and he will put his stamp on it.”

Terry revealed the Chelsea players had a meeting among themselves on Friday, urging a message of togetherness. The oddity of the club’s season is that, although there have been different factions within the squad regarding Mourinho, it never escalated into open revolt or disagreement in what has been an oddly muted dressing room.

“It’s been a tough few days, for sure,” Terry added. “[I’m] obviously gutted the manager has gone; we as players feel responsible for that. We are not hiding away from that fact. [But] we are delighted to have put in a very good performance and picked up the three points.

“We spoke on Friday about staying together; all of us sticking together – not just today or tomorrow but over the next five or six months – and getting ourselves back up the league table. Unfortunately, the manager’s head is on the block, he loses his job and collectively we have to take responsibility for that, which we have done.

“A lot of us have spoken publicly to say we haven’t been performing well enough; today is a step in the right direction to where we want to be, which is climbing the league table.

“For Chelsea, being the big club we are, it is unacceptable for us to be in this position. The manager has lost his job because of that.

“The fans showed the loyalty they have for Jose Mourinho. The memories he has brought to this club from 2004 and 2005 and last year, the fans will never forget that. There is obviously disappointment from a lot of them and rightly so because of what he has achieved at the club.

“We had to stand up and be counted and we did today. It was going to be tough for us, individually and collectively, but I think we put in a very good performance. But, more importantly, we desperately had to pick up three points regardless.”

Caretaker manager Steve Holland merely said it been “a sad few days”, as he revealed that Hiddink had introduced himself to some of the squad in the dressing room after the win over Sunderland.

“He didn’t speak collectively. Some of the players had already gone by the time he came in. He spoke to one or two and introduced himself; it’s no more of a stage than that at the moment. We have some days off scheduled now and I guess early next week we’ll start the plan for the next match.”

Although they lie 15th in the Premier League table, just 11 points now separate Chelsea from the top four, and Terry stressed that getting back into the Champions League is not an impossible aim in an unpredictable season.

“Listen, I think that from the first-half performance, who knows?” he said. “It is going to be difficult to win every game, we know that. But step by step – there’s a lot of games over Christmas; if we can go on a good run and climb the table over Christmas, then who knows?

“But look at the likes of Leicester: you expect them to drop off, but they haven’t. Teams are doing well above us, so that’s even more reason why we have to keep winning.”

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