Former Blues boss backs Conte to stay on at Chelsea

Date published: Sunday 14th May 2017 11:46

Guus Hiddink, Antonio Conte’s immediate predecessor as Chelsea boss, reckons the Italian will stay at Stamford Bridge due to “perfect circumstances” at the club.

Conte has rejuvenated Chelsea, who clinched the Premier League title with a 1-0 win at West Brom on Friday and can claim a double in his first season in charge with victory over Arsenal in the FA Cup final on May 27.

The former Juventus and Italy boss has so far been equivocal over his future, with Inter Milan making overtures.

But the 47-year-old can be expected to be rewarded for a successful season with a new contract offer 12 months into the three-year deal he signed on joining last summer.

Hiddink told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme: “There are always rumours coming up but the club is very stable.

“It’s a huge club to work for, perfect circumstances and very ambitious people. I think it’s more rumour than reality.”

Chelsea won the 2014-15 title under Jose Mourinho, who was sacked for a second time seven months later after the Blues imploded.

Hiddink was brought in as caretaker boss for a second time, steadying the team to a 10th-placed finish before owner Roman Abramovich turned to Conte.

Hiddink did not wish to dwell on what had happened under Mourinho when he returned to Chelsea, but can see how Conte has transformed what was a dysfunctional unit.

The Dutchman added: “The dressing room was quiet, too quiet, people avoiding each other a bit. We managed to overcome the problems and I didn’t want to go too deep into what were the problems.

“(Now) I see a very, very stable team and a team enjoying playing football.”

Hiddink helped with Conte’s transition, holding talks with the then Italy boss prior to his taking up his role after Euro 2016.

“Now it’s a confirmation of his attitude, his professionalism, plus, of course, his energy, which he’s putting in the team,” Hiddink said.

“He has also a very strong management team, with his coaches and Steve Holland. It’s nice to see his development of the club.”

Assistant coach Holland will leave Chelsea at the end of this season to take up a full-time role with England.

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