The communication between the players at Chelsea is better since the arrival of interim manager Guus Hiddink, according to their midfielder John Obi Mikel.
Hiddink was brought in by Chelsea’s owner Roman Abramovich when the Russian billionaire decided to sack Jose Mourinho for the second time at the end of last year. Chelsea endured their worst start since the late 1960s under the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’, with the Blues losing nine times in the league under the Portuguese manager.
The defending Premier League champions haven’t lost since the Dutchman took over at the helm, however, and Mikel believes that that is down to the improved communication in the ranks under their interim boss. He said, “It’s the way he communicates with the players and maybe that’s what the players felt they didn’t get from the previous manager”.
Mikel also felt that Jose Mourinho often froze players out if they weren’t in the first-team. He said, “Sometimes players – not just because they’re not playing – you need to communicate with them. You need to speak to them and don’t just ignore them because players like to be communicated to. This is what he has brought into the football club. In some ways you barely know he is in there, he is that calm and relaxed”.
Mikel was rumoured to be the subject of numerous bids last summer, but the Portuguese manager refused to sanction his departure from London. The Nigerian rarely started under Mourinho this term, however, only featuring regularly once Hiddink arrived as the club’s interim manager.
This is the second time that Hiddink has come into the West London club as their interim manager. He was also brought in in 2009 when Abramovich decided to sack Luis Felipe Scolari after the Brazilian failed to replicate his international form at club level in the Premier League. He led them to the FA Cup that season, something that could yet be replicated in this campaign.