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Chelsea must find stability to progress - Hiddink

GUUS Hiddink's exit from Chelsea and the likely appointment of Carlo Ancelotti this week means that the London club will be welcoming their fifth manager in less than two years.

Hiddink completed his three-month sojourn by guiding Chelsea to a first trophy in two years with a 2-1 victory over Everton in yesterday's FA Cup final but said to consistently challenge for domestic and European honours the side had to settle down.

"They've had too many changes and they recognise that themselves," Hiddink said after the Wembley win.

"Stability is needed now. You need a short-term strategy and a long-term strategy to build a team."

They had that under Jose Mourinho but after his surprise departure in Sept. 2007, the stability and the trophies dried up.

Avram Grant took them to within a missed John Terry penalty of Champions League glory in Moscow and also to a Premier League runners-up spot but was sent packing within days of his Russian retreat.

Owner Roman Abramovich's desperate need for an "identity" for his English plaything then led to the glamour appointment of Luiz Felipe Scolari, but the Brazilian World Cup winner was gone by February.

Abramovich then secured a share of the services of Hiddink but for all the Chelsea players' pleadings, the Dutchman now returns to his role of Russia coach.


Having got the best out of previously under-performing players such as Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda, Hiddink said that Chelsea already had the personnel to take another step up.

"Their attitude was superb," he said. "Sometimes it's difficult with big-name players but they accepted it if I had to leave them on the bench for example.

"I'm leaving a very good and competitive team. They are professionals with big contracts but at the end it is the intrinsic motivation they must bring to the job."

Michael Ballack was the "big name" to take his turn among the substitutes yesterday, which must have been all the more frustrating for the midfielder having missed the 2007 final through injury.

He entered the fray in the second half, however, and afterwards, having had a close-up view of all the changes since his arrival from Bayern Munich in 2006, echoed Hiddink.

"What we need at Chelsea is consistency," he said. "There is not much that we need to change to win the Premier League next season. We have a great team but we have to change the manager again and we will need a bit of time to adapt.

"I don't think we need to buy anybody because we already have a lot of good players on the bench. If you look at the performances over the last couple of years in reaching finals we have a really good squad and are heading in the right direction."

Ballack said he had agreed, though not yet signed, a year's extension to his contract and pleaded with the club and fans to show patience when the new regime begins.

"It is not always like under it was under Guus where somebody comes in and the team starts winning straight away -- that is not normal," the Germany captain said.

"Every coach works with different methods and the players have to get to know him -- hopefully we won't need too much time because if we do we will be a little bit behind."


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