English Premier League side Chelsea confirmed Thursday that Guus Hiddink will take charge until the end of the season following the dismissal of Luis Felipe Scolari.
The veteran Dutchman currently coaches the Russian national team, which he led to the semifinals of last year’s European Championship. Chelsea said it thanked the Russian Football Union for its “understanding and cooperation.” It was unclear whether Hiddink would continue as Russian coach. Asked if he could combine both high-profile jobs in an interview earlier this week with Russian newspaper Sport Express, Hiddink replied: “You correctly use the word “if”. He added: “I can’t rule out that option but it is at the stage of being examined. If everything is organized properly a move to London could happen.” Russia have two World Cup qualifiers between now and the end of the Premier League season — Azerbaijan at home at the end of March and Liechtenstein away on April 1. Hiddink has previous experience of managing a club and country at the same time, successfully combining roles at PSV Eindhoven and Australia.
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Scolari went on Monday after a string of indifferent results which have left Chelsea in fourth place in the Premier League, but in the last 16 of the Champions League and fifth round of the FA Cup. “Unfortunately the results and performances of the team appeared to be deteriorating at a key time in the season,” said a statement on the club’s official Web site. “In order to maintain a challenge for the trophies we are still competing for we felt the only option was to make the change now.”