Chelsea’s interim manager, Guus Hiddink, believes that not everything will be rosy for the club’s incoming manager, Antonio Conte, when he arrives at the club after he’s led Italy to this summer’s European Championship contest in France.
Chelsea have been looking for a new manager since the club sacked Jose Mourinho for the second time in December. The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ won the title with the Blues in the second season of his second spell with the club, but things went wrong this season and Chelsea endured their worst start to a top-flight campaign since the 1960s. Hiddink was brought in on an interim basis, much as he was when Luis Felipe Scolari was sacked in 2009.
In his first interim spell at the club the Dutchman led the Blues to an FA Cup win, but this year they were knocked out of the competition by Everton at the quarter-final stage. They are currently marooned in 10th place in the Premier League, an incredible 28 points off the league leaders Leicester City. They are closer to the relegation zone as they are only 14 points clear of Sunderland in 18th.
Whilst the club’s owner, Roman Abramovich, is confident he’s got the right man to replace Mourinho in the long-term, Hiddink has warned the Italian that there will be no guarantees next season as the defending Premier League champions will do battle in an even more competitive league. He said, “The clubs will have more money to spend next year, which means the league 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. We’re used to fighting for something and nothing is at stake at this moment. That’s strange”.
Hiddink said it seemed odd for the Blues to have nothing to play for in the closing stages of the season. Chelsea are used to competing for silverware all the way up until the end of the campaign and the fact that there is nothing for them to win, with even the top four now out of reach for them. He said the remainder of the season feels ‘a little bit empty’ and that the club’s poor performance could take its toll, with Conte having ‘no guarantees’ of success next season.