Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Hiddink: "We expect a very attacking Barcelona"

Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink gave an interview to football site ESPNsoccernet.

Back in February when you first learned you had the job you had the job did you have something specific that you knew you had to change right away?
Well I was asked indeed in February and at that time they were a little bit scared of slipping off to 5th or 6th position in the league, it is true. I started from the first day having my talks to the players that we must deliver from the first day and not get used to each other's way of working or me to them and how they play and vice versa. We managed to work hard and push the luck, not just the luck, we played well in Villa to get the first score over there, the first three points which I think were very important. We put the pressure on each other in the first week already.

Looking from afar back then, before you got the job, was there always something that you thought that if you were Chelsea manager you would do?
Well I came in and I had some ideas of course because in the few days when I knew I was going to do this I was of course analysing the situation within the team also with the players what is most important to see if players can cope together. Maybe to make some changes or to be a little bit more flexible tactically in the system to see if we could play with two central strikers, yes or no?, so I was analysing that and it worked out perfectly in that first game.

Symbolic of those changes is perhaps the form of Didier Drogba, back in the days of Luis Felipe Scolari he was low in confidence and obviously not in the form that he is now. What is it that you think you did with Didier Drogba to see the form he is in right now?
It is impossible for me and I don't want to judge the time before February, there are always reasons to make decisions. But, in Didier's case from the first day I started working with all of them and I did not want to have a lot of information about the past because I was watching towards the near future. He is very ambitious. Not just on the pitch but also off the pitch he has the influence on the team with other leaders and he got his form, his shape and from there on he marked also his goals which is very important for everyone.

And the form that he is in right now do you feel like he is the best striker in the world, how does he compare with the other top strikers?
It is difficult to compare, it is always said that the guy who makes goals is the best and it is not always true because he is in big shape but it is difficult to compare him with players who are playing in other leagues. What is important for us and for him is that he is having these performances, not just by scoring the goals but also by working hard.

Was there a key moment in the season in your time here where you really thought this is the game where things have changed or maybe on the training pitch?
From the first day we said, "hey guys, you have the experience of World Cups, European Cups and a lot of Champions League games and I have a bit of experience gathered all over the world so let's not hide and let's deliver from the first day. And all the guys responded.

You have been in this situation before with PSV where you are challenging for three trophies but of course when you are involved with so much there must be a focus for you.
We are still on three roads going towards success hopefully of course the league is difficult because every week there is one game less and if Manchester does not drop the points then they will be champions. In the Champions League we will face a very beautiful team Barcelona who can play wonderful football, I like to see that not just because I am now the opposing manager but also because I am a lover of good football, they are always nice to see.

Do you think your experience as Real Madrid and Valencia coach will help in that tie against Barcelona?
No, That is a long time ago already that was more than 10 years ago. Football has changed and managing style has changed but what I like very much is the philosophy of Barcelona. I know that and I know people there in their house and they have this philosophy of always signing players who are very attractive and very attack minded and also very attractive for the public and that is what they like in bringing in a team and I think it is very good to see.

What should we expect from that first leg at the Nou Camp, should we expect to see a very attacking Chelsea?
We expect a very attacking Barcelona and Chelsea has the character not to sit back, it is impossible in this team even if I say to the team "hey guys let's sit back and defend" it is impossible because there is this desire in the team to play football as well.

Of course the 2nd leg is back at Stamford Bridge, how crucial is that?
It is very tight, we have seen that in the game against Liverpool and we saw that in the game before against Juventus, it is very tight playing. These are all finals, if you play Barcelona-Chelsea then it is a final and if you play Liverpool-Barcelona or Liverpool-Chelsea they are all finals. So it will be very tight but if you play away we always try to play, as I said before not just defending.

In the game against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge how difficult was it to stay calm on the sidelines?
It seems calm because I have learned in the years that I must try to control myself because with the limited power you have as a manager on the sideline, if you can have some influence on the game and if I am acting like a supporter and following every action then I get mad etc. then I can't make the right and cool judgement about what, if needed, can be changed so I have to have control but it is not easy. If you saw both games we had a wonderful game at Anfield and we had a problematic game in several periods of the game at Stamford Bridge so it is not easy to stay disciplined and calm every time.

A lot has been made of the half time team talk, from your perspective what kind of approach did you have with the players?
We had in the first half this dual approach to the game, conserving, preserving the result from the first game 1-3 away and then of course we talked about that it is difficult for a team not to get split up. One part of the team wanted to attack more and one part was dropping back so you get too much space in between your defence and midfield and attacking line. That is what we talked about tactically and then also of course we were 2-0 down and we talked also man to man as big men should do to get a better performance and the players always react and they always know what is happening there that they were touched in their pride as well.

Of course in that game Ashley Cole got suspended and will miss the game at the Nou Camp. Does that mean that Lionel Messi will be even more of a threat? And how can you contain him without Ashley Cole?
Well, Ashley is unfortunately suspended it is true and we will see. Messi is one of the most beautiful players in the world, very attractive but in these two games I hope he is not delivering and producing what he normally does but I have to think about how to do that. We still have a little bit of time.

read the full interview here

Read more:
How will Barcelona beat Chelsea? And More.
Belletti: "The winners will end up being champions"
Transfer history: Guus Hiddink (PSV Eindhoven)


Jordan said...

Let them see the terrifying attack!

Ramzi said...

"In the game against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge how difficult was it to stay calm on the sidelines?"

The answer is a piece of art. It shows the value of experience.

But we will beat them anyway;)

Anurag said...

damn, i used to be anti chelsea until hiddink took over. i really have a lot of respect for this guy. he is one of the best managers in the world. something like what messi is as a player. they both rock and they are both so humble.

sashi said...

Hiddink or no Hiddink... Chelsea down down.....

FCBarca said...

Credit, Guus, he's quite the diplomat

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