Guus Hiddink: chelsea hovers

Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink was delighted with his team's 1-0 victory over Manchester City at Stamford Bridge today, and believes it offers ample proof that the Premier League title race is far from over, especially after Liverpool's Old Trafford mauling of Manchester United on Saturday. The gap between United and Liverpool and Chelsea is now only four points, though the Red Devils do have a game in hand on their immediate rivals. "If it was just four points, it would be very close,” Hiddink told The Times. "They have that game in hand, but it’s clear that after [Saturday’s] unexpected result that the tension has come back in the league, which is good. It’s a boost. "But if we want to track them, we have to keep on winning. That’ll give tension to the end of the league season, which is good for everyone, unless you are [the one being] chased. “It gives a blow [to United]. It depends on their calmness. When you are chased, when you are in the driver’s seat and someone else is coming, and tries to occupy your back seat, then you can get a little bit nervous. The door is a little bit open."

Hiddink also showed his canny side, when he refused to be drawn in to any of the 'wars of words' and so-called 'mind games', so beloved by Alex Ferguson and, to a much lesser degree, Rafa Benitez. He concluded, "I have my head in Chelsea so I don’t want to talk too much about what happened and what went wrong with Manchester United. "That’s a question for Sir Alex. It’s not a battle between the managers, it’s a battle between the players. "They might change their minds about me when I put them on the bench or not even in the squad," Hiddink said. "But there is a good atmosphere of work here and we are very demanding of each other. If they are happy with the way we are working and it's going well with results it's all okay. "I have been very happy not just with the regular starters but with all the other players, who I've been watching and observing. Everyone is committed. "But I made it very clear a few weeks ago - and again recently - what the future will be after 30 May. I don't have to do that again."

Hiddink's side take on Manchester City in the league on Sunday, a match dubbed as the 'Clash of the Cash' due to Roman Abramovich's ownership of Chelsea and the wealthy Abu Dhabi United Group's acquisition of City last September, but while the former's riches have helped establish Chelsea as a dominant force in Europe, Hiddink believes it requires more than money for City to take on the elite four of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and United. "It can happen, nothing is impossible in this country, especially when you have power. But there are also the clubs with history, who have played as champions and fought for championships," Hiddink said. "They have the advantage of their history and the experience of being on top of everyone, if not every year then for a lot of them. This experience is very valuable for the big clubs. It's not easy to come between those teams if they are well managed. "If they continue as they have for the last few years it will be difficult to come in, but it's always good to have more competition for the title." "It's not always a matter of money to make a team. You have to be very careful about positions and the balance of your squad. It is not simply because of money that you have success as a team."

(source: goal,


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