After losing just 1 of his first 27 Premier League matches in charge of Chelsea (over two stints), Guus Hiddink has now lost 3 of his last 5. The magic has fully gone now, one suspects.
The latest loss, against Sunderland, had a rather familiar feel to it, with Chelsea failing to kill off the game when we had the chance(s) and allowing the opponents to come back not just once, but twice, and then even grab a winner as the boys in blue wished wished to disappear into the Wearside misty fog.
"We didn't kill them off and that's the only thing I can criticise. I'm disappointed of course with the result. We like to win every game which is not always possible. We should have scored more in the first half-an-hour and made it two or three nil. We were playing very well but not materialising our chances and so we invited them in to the game which they did by making it 1-1."
"The team reacted at that point very well to make it 2-1 right on half-time. We then had two or three open chances in the second half to make it 3-1. We didn't do that and that let them in to the game. We invited them to get new energy. They were energetic and very well supported by their crowd to get the win which is huge for them."
To cap off the miserable result, John Terry got his marching orders just before the final whistle for a second bookable offense. Unless the captain gets another last-minute contract extension, that will be the last thing he ever does in a Chelsea shirt.
"It's sad he was sent off for a second yellow."
"I think the referee was too close to the incident. Normally we say the ref should be close to what can happen but I think he was too close and he had an impulsive reaction to draw the yellow card. With a bit more distance, maybe 10 yards more, he could have thought ‘hey, these two guys went intensely for a duel'. It was an intense game and you have to consider that. It was a good duel between the two players, there was no intention to hurt. It was a harsh decision and by rule I think he is suspended for two games because it's his second red card."
"Of course we don't know what his future is at this moment. It's sad that he won't be participating in our last game at home, the Leicester game, the champions, a party time let's say."
-Guus Hiddink; source: Chelsea FC
Not often you see referees criticized for being too close to an incident, but there you have it. Judging by reports of Terry's vacant stares and despondent behaviour in the dressing room, chances are he knows that there is no contract extension coming.
Of course no Hiddink press conference would be complete without the mention of saving the club from relegation.
"In December we were in the same position as Sunderland. It was awkward and we managed in a relatively short time to get out of that area and get into ninth or 10th."
"I would have liked us to further and get some silverware, but it was not the case. We have played for our pride but haven't always got the wins."
-Guus Hiddink; source: Sky
I would expect something far better than 2 wins from 10 games in all competitions when playing just for pride, let alone for FA Cup and Champions League glory, but whatever. It's hardly worth getting angry about it at this point. Two games left until the first day of the rest of our Chelsea lives, when things will be better. Probably. At least for a short while.