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Feb 12, 2009

Hiddink jets in and declares: Chelsea can win title

New Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink flew into London to watch his first training session on Thursday and declared that the Premier League club could still win the title.

The Dutchman, who succeeds ousted Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari and will take control of the Blues until the end of the season, accompanied chairman Bruce Buck out on to the Cobham training ground to watch the main session, led by assistant coach Ray Wilkins.

After meeting with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and director Eugene Tenenbaum Hiddink gave his first interview as Blues boss and intimated that the fourth placed club could catch league leaders Manchester United.

"They are in several races, the FA Cup is there, the Champions League and also the league," the 62-year-old told Chelsea TV.

"There is a 10-point difference but if you look in the past of this league and other leagues as well, some things can happen during the final stages of the championship.

"All the three roads are very important. The next game against Watford, and then Aston Villa and Juventus, and then you go on the path of the Champions League, and that is so attractive. The club has the experience to go to the final.

"I have to live, as soon as possible, in the depth of the club, but I just recently talked to the players for a few minutes in the dressing room this afternoon.

"I am not just here to add to my experience with the club and Premier League, but also I want to see these results as soon as possible.

"The players are very committed, I have seen the training session, but sometimes you can have a little bit different approach to get even more efficiency out of the players.

"That is where I am aiming at and if you add those individuals together and make a team, then everyone can bring a little bit more.

"Not just in commitment. It is too easy to talk commitment because everyone has an obligation to be committed, but in the tactical and the strategic approach during the game. We might gain some profit.

"I worked several years with Alex (at PSV) but I know the players of Chelsea and other clubs as well, I know almost all of the players.

"To be honest I don't know the players from the academy and I see them participating already with the first team which is good. I have to know them better, how they play etc, but generally speaking I know the players."

Wilkins, who will lead the team against Watford in the FA Cup on Saturday, will play an instrumental role in providing Hiddink with information about players during the early part of his tenure.

Hiddink will work with Chelsea as well as continue in his current post as coach of the Russian national team and his dual role is already causing a stir amongst the Sbornaja players.

Russian playmaker Andrei Arshavin, Arsenal's newest recruit, is worried that Hiddink may leave the national team to become Chelsea's full-time manager, which he believes could have disastrous effects on the national team's future.

"For me, the most important thing is that Hiddink doesn't leave the Russian team," Arshavin told Sport Express.

"If Guus was to quit, our side could just simply collapse without him. I don't see any realistic replacement for him."

"However, if he feels he has the strength to help Chelsea, then that's how it should be."

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