Players must respond to Hiddink, says grateful Ivanovic

Published 12/21/2015, 1:57 PM EST
Football Soccer – Chelsea v Sunderland – Barclays Premier League – Stamford Bridge – 19/12/15 Branislav Ivanovic celebrates scoring the first goal for Chelsea Reuters / Dylan Martinez Livepic/Files


LONDON (Reuters) – Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic welcomed interim manager Guus Hiddink back to the club on Monday but warned his team-mates that they bear the responsibility for results.

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The Serbian full back is one of few players, along with John Terry and John Obi Mikel who were at the club during Hiddink’s previous period in charge, when he led them to an FA Cup win in 2009.

“He was the one who gave me a proper chance in this club,” Ivanovic told Chelsea’s website (www.chelseafc.com).

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“I know how good his work was the first time he was here and I am grateful to him for that moment, but it was a long time ago.

“Now is a new challenge, a completely different situation. I think his first aim is to stabilise us, so we can play like we did against Sunderland.”

With Hiddink watching from the stand alongside former Chelsea hero Didier Drogba, Ivanovic headed an early goal in the 3-1 win at home to Sunderland on Saturday.

Individual players were booed, however, for their perceived part in the sacking of popular manager Jose Mourinho and the team are still in the Premier League’s bottom six, three points above the relegation places.

“All of us have a responsibility for what has happened and all of us are responsible for where we are in this moment,” Ivanovic added.

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“The manager is not on the pitch, it is the players, so we lose the games and the thing we can change in the future is ourselves.

“We have to be honest with each other and honest with ourselves, then win a couple of games in a row and stick with that for a long time to get back to winning regularly, because it is important for the club.”

Chelsea play at home to buoyant Watford on Saturday, then visit Manchester United two days later.

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(Reporting by Steve Tongue; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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