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12.02.2009 Football News

Hiddink is new Chelsea boss


Chelsea have confirmed Russia coach Guus Hiddink as their new coach – with the Dutchman saying he got on board as a "personal favour" to Blues owner Roman Abramovich.

A statement from the English Premier League club on Wednesday said Hiddink would take charge until the end of the season as Chelsea try to turn their campaign around following the sacking of Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Hiddink will remain in charge of the Russian national team.

"Chelsea Football Club is delighted to confirm Guus Hiddink will become temporary coach until the end of the season," said the statement from Stamford Bridge. "He is due to meet the players later this week.

"The club would like to take this opportunity to thank the Russian Football Union for their understanding and cooperation."

The Dutchman said on Wednesday that he would be attending Saturday's FA Cup fixture at Watford before taking charge ahead of the Premier League clash with top-of-the-table rivals Aston Villa the next weekend.

"It's never enough time to prepare a team in one week but this is an exceptional situation," said the former PSV Eindhoven and South Korea coach. "Chelsea have good players and they should be in top form and that should make my job easier."

In a radio interview he added that his close relationship with Abramovich – the financial backer of the Russian team – had been the most important factor in his appointment. "It's a favour for a friend," Hiddink told Radio 538 in the Netherlands.

"Abramovich does so much for Russian football that I wanted to give something back.”He called me personally. "I can do it because we (Russia) are only playing two matches in April and one in June, but the English league is finished then."

Assistant Ray Wilkins is coaching the team in the gap between the two managers.