Guus Hiddink addressed the media for the first time since being appointed first-team manager until the end of the season, and he is confident the team possesses enough quality to ensure we advance back up the Premier League table.
Speaking in a busy media room at Cobham ahead of his first game in charge, at home to Watford on Boxing Day, the Dutchman explained how it feels to be back for a second spell in charge of the Blues.
‘I shouldn’t be here halfway through the season because it means things aren’t going as well as foreseen at the beginning of the season, but I’m glad to be back,’ said Hiddink.
‘It was a few years ago I was here in a similar situation and I tried to help out when I was asked to do so. I have a lot of love for the club and to work with the players is always a pleasure.
‘If you look back to last season where there was this huge success in winning the title, you go into the next season setting targets and aims. The aims are to win the Premier League again, which isn’t easy, and the other target is to go far in the Champions League and FA Cup.
‘Sometimes after a championship you might relax a bit as a team and then you get a wake-up call in September, but the situation is that we were down to one point away from the relegation zone last week, which was frightening for everyone inside the club. But that’s not to say I’m here and tomorrow the problem is solved.’
Hiddink took his first full training session yesterday and spoke to the players, briefly about the past, but particularly about the future.
‘Yesterday I spoke to the squad and of course we talked about the past and why I’m here, but on the other hand I told them things happen in football and I want everyone to look in the mirror, not just for two seconds but a long time, and think about what can be done to get us back on the way up, that’s what I was emphasising,’ he said.
‘Of course we cannot ignore what has happened in the recent past but I told them that, as professionals, they must look in the mirror and see if they can be ultra-critical and give their best for the team.
‘There must be a great desire to play. If you don’t have that desire please knock on my door and we’ll talk, but we’ll talk briefly.’
Hiddink spoke about the importance of leadership within the team and revealed Eden Hazard, who missed Saturday's win over Sunderland through injury, trained today, although the Belgian didn't take part in the full session.
Hiddink expects last season's Player of the Year to be an important figure between now and the end of the season.
'He had a terrific season last year and its normal to have a little setback,' he said.
'He can be a key player when he is captain of the Belgium national team, but also here he can be a key player when he gets back in shape. He was unlucky to be injured recently but with him he needs to get that eagerness to perform back.'