LONDON (Reuters) – Ray Wilkins, who worked as an assistant to Guus Hiddink in his previous spell in charge of Chelsea six years ago, believes the experienced Dutchman would be the perfect choice to return following Jose Mourinho’s sacking.
Hiddink, fired by the Netherlands in June as they failed to qualify for Euro 2016, has been widely tipped to take over as interim manager by British media who reported on Friday that he was in London for talks.
Former Chelsea captain Wilkins, who also worked at the club with managers Gianluca Vialli, Luiz Felipe Scolari and Carlo Ancelotti, described him as “probably the best man-manager I’ve ever seen”.
The pair worked together after Brazilian Scolari was sacked in February 2009. Chelsea went on to win the FA Cup, finished third in the Premier League and were only denied a place in the Champions League final by Barcelona’s goal in added time at Stamford Bridge.
“Guus has the ability to get them all playing,” Wilkins told Sky Sports News.
“His English is first-class and his mentality is very English — he loves aggressive football and players who train hard. But he also loves a giggle.
“He doesn’t have that language barrier that Felipe had, who just couldn’t quite get his message across, although the start of that season was first-class.
“Guus came in to enjoy himself and he did.
“He very seldom changed the side unless there was an injury. Everybody worked their socks off for him and he was extremely successful in that short period.”
Wilkins is adamant that Chelsea, who are through to the Champions League knockout stages where they play Paris St Germain but lie 16th in the league ahead of Saturday’s game at home to Sunderland, will soon improve.
“When you take over a club like Chelsea you’ve got to win,” he said.
“They won’t go down. They’ve got too many quality players.”
Hiddink, 69, has enjoyed an itinerant career including a spell at Real Madrid and national team roles with South Korea, Australia, Russia and Turkey as well as his native country.
He took his first head coach’s job at PSV Eindhoven in 1987 and won the Dutch title in three consecutive seasons as well as the European Cup in 1988.
(Reporting by Steve Tongue, editing by Ed Osmond)