London, Jan 3 (IANS) Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink has said he will try and convince his football players to follow the leadership qualities of the side he took charge of during his first stint as interim manager in 2009. However, the Dutchman is still learning about the players he is currently managing after inheriting the post from Jose Mourinho a month back.
“It’s a bit different from all those years ago, I’m not going to say worse or better but different. It was a bit easier last time because we weren’t down the table and there were players with big international experience. Different types,” Hiddink was quoted as saying by The Guardian on Saturday. “Look at the spine of the team back then — (Didier) Drogba, (Michael) Ballack, (Michael) Essien, (Frank) Lampard, (John Obi) Mikel, Alex, (John)Terry. The centre was strong. A different team with different personalities.”
Hiddink added: “That’s what I’m asking now of the players that they must demand it of each other, not just in their commitment because they’re all committed. I’ve seen the intensity of training and the games but in the technical way of playing I like to see some players take the lead from central defence into midfield.” Hiddink also said that the club’s best player last season Eden Hazard has recovered from a hip injury and believes the hunger in him to succeed has come back.
“He is back in shape. You could see when he was warming up against Watford and he was looking at me as if saying: ‘Bring me, bring me on’. That is an indication he can get back to the performance levels we are used to,” Hiddink said. “He had a difficult game at Old Trafford, where they were searching for him all over the pitch, but he reacted well. Very strong, his character. If he does that he will come back to the levels we are used to. Eden smells well. His character is quiet but very determined.”