Guus Hiddink was named as Chelsea’s new manager by his former employers in Australia on Friday, while former Blues striker Mateja Kezman says the Dutchman has been given the job.
Former Socceroos boss Hiddink was reported by Football Federation Australia to have been appointed as a temporary successor to Jose Mourinho, who left Chelsea on Thursday, but there has been no official announcement from the Premier League club.
On its website, the federation stated: “Guus Hiddink has taken temporary charge at struggling EPL giant Chelsea after the club announced they’d sacked coach Jose Mourinho overnight following the club’s disastrous run in the English Premier League.”
Well-travelled Dutchman Hiddink managed Australia at the 2006 World Cup, helping the team reach the second round.
The official Socceroos Twitter feed also announced: “Our former boss has taken charge at @ChelseaFC – Good luck Guus!”
It looked to be a question of when, rather than if, Chelsea would announce the appointment of 69-year-old Hiddink, who had a caretaker spell in charge at Stamford Bridge in the closing months of the 2008-09 season and helped the team win the FA Cup.
Kezman also claimed Hiddink told him on Thursday that he had been given the Chelsea job.
Kezman, quoted on the website of Croatian newspaper Index, said: “I do not know if it is officially confirmed, whether the club has announced it, but Guus told me earlier.
“I am convinced that with him Chelsea will recover. I would even say they are one of the favourites for the Champions League.”
Kezman, who briefly played under Mourinho during the Portuguese’s first spell in charge of Chelsea, said: “I am not surprised by (owner Roman) Abramovich’s decision to (get rid of) Mourinho.
“Jose is a superb coach but the results and position in the league are catastrophic and unbecoming the reputation of a club like Chelsea.
“It is incredible that this team were champions last season and are now fighting for dear life in the Premier League.
“I think this decision is correct and Guus Hiddink is a great choice.”