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Hiddink linked with Chelsea job

GUUS Hiddink is in talks with Chelsea to take over as manager until the end of the season while continuing as Russia coach, he said yesterday.

Hiddink said he was approached by the Premier League club to coach the team after Luiz Felipe Scolari was sacked on Monday.

"I have to admit it's a complicated situation involving the Russian national team and Chelsea," the Dutchman said yesterday.

Chelsea issued a statement saying it had been granted permission by Russia's FA to speak to Hiddink about becoming its temporary coach.

Hiddink said he had a special relationship with Chelsea's billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich.

"I must say that this is an exceptional situation. If it was any other club aside from Chelsea my answer would be a straight 'No'," he said.

"But Chelsea is different because I have good relations with the (club) owner. So I would like to help them (Chelsea) in this situation if I could."

Asked if this would involve working as a consultant for Chelsea's coaching staff, Hiddink said: "No, this would be a full managerial role, a day-to-day job. But this would only be for the next two or three months until the end of the season," he added.

"Of course when Russia would play (World Cup qualifiers) I would go there to coach them during that (international window) as there won't be any (league) games during that time.

"I have already done that (combining two jobs) a couple of years ago when I was coaching Australia and PSV (Eindhoven), so I'm familiar with the situation and know what it takes."

Fully committed

Hiddink also said he was fully committed to helping Russia to qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals.

"I will not leave my job with the Russian national team. It's out of the question," he said.

"When I took the Russia job it was a long-term project and I don't like to leave it unfinished."

Asked if he knew about Scolari's fate before the news was released on Monday, he said: "Well, you have your contacts and I have mine.

"I did get a phone call from them (Chelsea management) and we discussed the situation but we haven't come to a final decision just yet.

"But the situation can change any day or even any hour."

The Dutchman said before making any decisions he would discuss his future with Russian soccer chief Vitaly Mutko.

"I was planning to fly to Europe from Turkey at the end of the training camp (on Wednesday) but I can change that and I can go directly to Moscow to meet with Mutko."

Frank Rijkaard and Avram Grant are among the others in contention for the job. Rijkaard's representative said the former Barcelona coach had not yet been approached but was interested in the job. Grant coached Chelsea last year and took the Blues to the Champions League final.

Scolari was fired after six months at Chelsea, with the Blues in fourth place in the Premier League. Assistant Ray Wilkins was put in interim charge.

Chelsea has changed its manager three times in the past 17 months.


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