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Chelsea owe it to Hiddink

sports Updated: May 29, 2009 22:48 IST

AFP
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John Terry has already lined up a farewell present for Guus Hiddink but he knows the only gift the out-going Chelsea manager really wants is victory in Saturday's FA Cup final.

Terry and his team-mates will mark the end of Hiddink's brief reign by handing the Dutchman a present after the Wembley showpiece against Everton.

Chelsea captain Terry wouldn't reveal the exact nature of the gift but he has no intention of making that the only going-away momento for Hiddink, who resumes his role as Russia coach on a full-time basis immediately after this weekend's match.

"There will be something from the lads. It would be nice to do it after we've won the trophy," Terry said.

"There's no party, it's just a gift from the players. It's a nice way to say thank you for all his hard work.

"But we owe it to ourselves and Guus to win the FA Cup. That is the least we can do for Guus. We would love to win the FA Cup and send him off in style."

Hiddink has made a major impact since his arrival as successor to Luiz Felipe Scolari in February.

Scolari's laidback attitude had failed to spark a positive response from players more used to Jose Mourinho's stick and carrot method of motivation.

Hiddink's open, direct approach struck much more of a chord from the moment he got on the team coach for the journey home after a 1-0 win at Aston Villa in his first match.

The previously spluttering Blues responded by producing a run of just one defeat in 21 games in all competitions. And although that wasn't enough to win the Premier League or Champions League, it earned Hiddink a place in the hearts of Terry and company.

"After the first game away to Aston Villa, the first thing he said was 'great win lads, lets get on the bus, it's a long journey back, we can have a couple of beers and talk about the game'," Terry said.

"That went down really well. He had a beer and a glass of wine on the bus. The lads were speaking to him as he was walking down the bus.

"It all went down well. Little things like that, you really appreciate as a player.

"I've asked him to stay but we respect that, from day one, he said he owed it to Russia to go back. That is the kind of man he is, full of pride.

"After about the 20th time of asking him I knew I was wasting my breath! I'm a man of loyalty myself and I admire him 100 percent."

Terry admits Hiddink will be sorely missed because his blend of hard-nosed desire and down to earth friendliness got the best out of Chelsea's ego-filled dressing room.