Guus Hiddink's time as Chelsea manager is slowly winding down. Most attention has already turned to next season, or at least onto the summer and all the transfer activities those few months should entail. But before then, we do have six more games to play, albeit with just about nothing to play for. Putting in the required effort at this point is a matter of professional pride.
"It's been strange because this club is used to being involved for some titles in the last weeks and months of the season, and after the defeats in the Champions League and the FA Cup there was a little bit of emptiness because there was no silverware to go for. When it's not happening you feel it for a few days, but then you have to regather and refocus yourself and the team as well."
"What I have asked from them is to go in to tomorrow's match and the rest of the matches with ambition and desire to get a good run going in the last games. I would like to finish my spell now at Chelsea in the last games with the players showing their quality - from the mental side of things as well."
-Guus Hiddink; source: Chelsea FC
With a summer that promises significant changes, not the least of which will be the new non-interim manager Antonio Conte, the work has just begun. It's unclear how much attention Conte may be paying at this point, but Hiddink's watchful eyes will have their say in this life and the next.
"To get the force back in the club is the aim. It's the end of the season, analysis will be made, and recharge with fresh energy. At the end, If I am asked, I am available for this club, no matter who knocks on the door. One can make analysis, but It is not for me to do it in front of the press."
-Guus Hiddink; source: Goal
Hiddink had hinted at possibly sticking around in an advisory role to Conte and Chelsea before. But regardless of whether he does or not, the job at hand, to return Chelsea to English and European significance is not an easy one. There are no guarantees, especially now, with the untold amounts of new money flowing into the league.
"There are no guarantees (Chelsea can be back in the top four) whatsoever. The fact is the clubs will have more money to spend next year, which means it will be even more competitive, which is very nice for everyone, except for those who have been used to being at the top for many years."
-Guus Hiddink; source: Evening Standard
One of the biggest reasons for our massive failure this season has been taking last year's success for granted. We must not make the same mistake in thinking that a return to the top four is preordained. It will take belief, confidence, smart decisions, and above all, hard work. And 'hard' may be an understatement.