Conte confirmation not to blame, insists Hiddink

Date published: Saturday 9th April 2016 7:31

Guus Hiddink: Does not think Antonio Conte confirmation affected Chelsea

Guus Hiddink does not believe confirmation of Antonio Conte as Chelsea’s next manager contributed to their defeat at Swansea City.

Hiddink had not lost any of his previous 14 remier League games since succeeding Jose Mourinho in December, but Chelsea came unstuck at Swansea as Gylfi Sigurdsson’s 25th-minute volley gave the Welsh club a 1-0 win and took them to the 40-point milestone.

Chelsea announced earlier this week that Conte will be taking over after leading Italy at Euro 2016 in France this summer.

But Hiddink refuted the suggestion that the appointment had affected his players, saying: “I don’t think so.

“What we did in the second half was good. I don’t think they had it in mind to look to next season.”

Hiddink was without several first-team players through injury and suspension, among them John Terry, Gary Cahill, Nemanja Matic, Willian and Diego Costa.

But the Dutchman also sprang a surprise by preferring Asmir Begovic to Thibaut Courtois in goal.

“Begovic is a good keeper and he has proven that,” said Hiddink.

“He has done his job as a professional very well. He is 100 per cent committed in every training session and that is why I rewarded him with the chance to play.

“We created some chances in the first 20 minutes but we were sloppy in taking those options.

“The second half we were on the front foot but did not create many chances and it is a disappointing defeat.”

Hiddink had made it clear in the build-up to the game that he saw giving experience to the club’s young players as a greater priority than maintaining his unbeaten record.

The Dutchman reiterated that after the defeat, telling BBC Sport: “Every defeat hurts but everyone knows the situation we are in, so there’s a positive side to bringing in youngsters and seeing what they can do.

“We defended poorly and gave Sigurdsson a very free chance. We were attacking, attacking, but in the final third we were not sharp enough.”

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