Free Press Journal

Chelsea in transition period after Champions League exit: Coach Hiddink


London: English football club Chelsea’s interim manager Guus Hiddink said his team are in a “transitional period” after French side Paris Saint Germain (PSG) knocked them out of the Champions League last-16 stage for the second successive season. The London-based club, who are currently tenth in the English Premier League, 10 points off the top four clubs, went down 2-4 in aggregate after losing both legs 1-2, the second one being at home on Wednesday.

“Chelsea must consider their short-term future. Chelsea are now in a transitional period and they now have to see how to go on to try to regain the lost terrain where they used to be,” Hiddink was quoted as saying by BBC after the match on Wednesday. “It is difficult to get into fourth in the Premier League, but we knew that and we tried to do our first job, which was to get out of the relegation zone,” he said.

Chelsea’s supporters gave Eden Hazard, who has been linked with PSG, a mixed reception when he limped off with a hip injury late in the match. Hazard’s departure was greeted with jeers from some fans, another sign of his fragile relationship with Chelsea’s supporters, who were unhappy with his contribution leading up to the sacking of manager Jose Mourinho in December.

The Belgium winger scored 19 goals last season on his way to winning the “Player of the Year” award, but has scored just twice in a hugely disappointing campaign this time. “I’m aware of it. In some countries they do it and I don’t want to see a bad thought about that or overvalue it. It’s not a big thing for me. I’m sure knowing those two players there was no bad intention there,” the interim manager said.