Guus Hiddink is “absolutely perfect” to step in as Chelsea’s saviour following Jose Mourinho’s sacking, former Blues assistant boss Ray Wilkins said Friday, as reports said the Dutchman was poised to get the job.
The 69-year-old is in a London hotel “holding discussions with Blues officials,” the BBC reported.
Hiddink “is yet to sign a contract but is set to become manager on an interim basis,” it said.
Sky reported Hiddink was in London “where he is expected to hold talks over the vacant Chelsea job”.
Hiddink played a similar role in 2009, when he was appointed after the dismissal of Luiz Felipe Scolari and steered Chelsea to FA Cup glory.
“As an interim manager, he would love the challenge, I’m sure,” Wilkins, whose most recent stint with Chelsea’s backroom team ended in 2010, told talkSPORT.
“He would be the one person I would say would be absolutely perfect to come in to the end of the season and straighten them out.”
Mourinho’s tumultuous second spell at Chelsea ended Thursday “by mutual consent”, with the club’s technical director Michael Emenalo revealing that squad disharmony was a significant factor.
Chelsea’s disastrous start to the season prompted owner Roman Abramovich to end the deal, with the club saying it was “in the best interests of both parties to go our separate ways”.
Nine defeats in 16 games saw the reigning Premier League titleholders drop to within a point of the relegation zone. Emenalo said Chelsea had had to act.
Wilkins feels the struggling squad must take their share of responsibility.
“I love Jose and he’s done a fantastic job for Chelsea,” the former England midfielder said. “He’ll go elsewhere and do a wonderful job for someone.”
“I honestly do believe the players need to take a lot of blame for this as well because they really haven’t performed. The only player that’s performed on any sort of consistent level is Willian,” he added.
“With the ball, more often than not there’s no problem. But without the ball they’ve not done half as much as they should have done. They’ve not worked hard enough.”
The Blues take on Sunderland on Saturday and host Watford on December 26.
“There’s got to be six points there,” Wilkins added.
“Sunderland aren’t in the best form, they’re struggling a bit, and to go the Bridge after this has happened is probably the worst place they could possibly go.”
While Hiddink could fill the gap in the Chelsea dugout in the short term, permanent options include longstanding target Pep Guardiola, Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone, Italy coach Antonio Conte, and ex-Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti.
“The club is working vigorously and actively to make sure that the situation with regards to a managerial appointment is taken care of as soon as possible,” Emenalo said.
Former England captain and Chelsea defender John Terry took to Instagram to express his thanks and regret after Mourinho’s Stamford Bridge exit, posting a photo of he and the former manager embracing.
“Thank you doesn’t seem enough. Sad sad day,” posted Terry.
“Gonna miss you Boss. The very best I have EVER worked with, unbelievable memories together.”
Hull City boss Steve Bruce said he was saddened by Mourinho’s departure and believes the former Porto, Inter Milan and Real Madrid coach should have been given more time.
“What chance have we got, if people like Mourinho are getting sacked?” he said.
Chelsea said that Mourinho “will always remain a much-loved, respected and significant figure at Chelsea” and “will always be warmly welcomed back to Stamford Bridge”.