By Coral Barry
Guus Hiddink should be the next permanent Chelsea manager, according to John Obi Mikel.
The long-serving midfielder believes the 69-year-old Dutchman, who has been appointed interim boss until the end of the season, should get the job on a full-time basis.
Chelsea routed a youthful Manchester City side 5-1 in the FA Cup on Sunday and have yet to be beaten in the Premier League since Hiddink took over in mid December.
The club’s only defeat in Hiddink’s second spell in charge at Stamford Bridge came last week when they were defeated 2-1 by runaway French league leaders Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.
Mikel has had a new lease of life under Hiddink, cementing himself as the manager’s preferred midfield anchorman after being a fringe player under Jose Mourinho.
Speaking to the media after the City win, Mikel threw his support behind the Dutchman.
He said: “Obviously, definitely I want him to stay. It is the choice of the owner, the club and the board. They will have to decide.
“But if you speak to the players, 98 or 99% of them want him to stay so I mean, we are very happy, we are performing well and let’s hope this continues.”
Hiddink has said he will not continue beyond the summer and suggested on Friday that the incoming Chelsea manager will have a huge rebuilding task on his hands.
“It depends on the board and it depends on Guus if he wants to continue,” added Mikel. “He has said that he is here until the end of the season but you never know, he might change his mind.
“If the club want to appoint him, fair enough. His record speaks for itself.”
Mourinho’s final days at the London club were rife with rumours of dissent inside the dressing room and arguments behind the scenes and Mikel has suggested that Hiddink has removed the tension from the previous reign.
“From day one, since Guus has come in, the atmosphere has changed.
“The players feel more relaxed, people know what their jobs are and people are getting on with their jobs in a more relaxed way.”