Abramovich hails Hiddink ahead of Cup final farewell
COBHAM, England - Roman Abramovich has told Guus Hiddink to be proud of his achievements during a brief spell at Chelsea, despite the club's Champions League semi-final exit and failure to challenge for the Premier League title. Chelsea's billionaire owner struck a deal with Russia in February to allow Hiddink to coach Chelsea to the end of the season after the London side had slumped under Luiz Felipe Scolari. They were denied a place in the Champions League final after a last-gasp Barcelona goal and while they have Saturday's FA Cup final against Everton to look forward to they could only manage third in the Premier League. "After the Barcelona game I was not in the best state of mind," Hiddink told reporters on Wednesday. "He told me to be proud because I had made a good impression around the world with what we did against Barcelona. He said, 'Be proud of the team and what you have achieved in the last months here.'" Hiddink said he did not consider the FA Cup an anti-climax because it was watched with eager interest around the world. "Getting into the FA Cup final is an achievement," the Dutchman said. "It's a final with worldwide attention and to get some silverware would be perfect. "The team did well from February on but they are professional enough that they would be very, very disappointed if they did not get some silverware." TOUGH OPPONENTS Hiddink said Everton were one of three clubs, alongside Manchester United and Liverpool who were the toughest to play in the Premier League. Chelsea managed two 0-0 draws against them this season. "They deserve a lot of respect for the way they have been built without the resources of other clubs so there's a lot of expertise in the club," he said. The 62-year-old said it would be hard to leave after the final. "I've enjoyed every minute there," he said. "I've had a wonderful time and when you've had a wonderful time it's more difficult to say goodbye." Hiddink said the club had not discussed any possibility of him staying. "They know I have this full-hearted commitment in Russia and Roman takes a lot of responsibility over there as he does here," Hiddink said. Brazilian midfielder Juliano Belletti is the only injury worry before the final. Frank Lampard and Brazil defender Alex were fit after niggling injuries, Hiddink said.
27 May 2009
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