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Guus: Show me intelligence

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Guus: Show me intelligence

GUUS HIDDINK does not suffer fools gladly so Ashley Cole should be grateful he is in Chelsea’s team today after making a clown of himself.

Boss Hiddink is proud of his reputation as a hard-line disciplinarian and is not in the habit of handing out second chances.

In Cole’s case, the England defender should hope the Dutchman’s time in charge at Stamford Bridge does not extend beyond his temporary contract, which runs until the summer.

True, Hiddink made a point of praising Cole for apologising publicly for his behaviour in the early hours of Thursday morning which led to his arrest for allegedly being drunk and disorderly.

Cole, however, has now said sorry for his misdemeanours more times than he has hit the net for Chelsea since signing in 2006.

Hiddink also had stern words with club captain John Terry and Michael Mancienne after the trio broke club rules by being out in the early hours ahead of today’s crucial FA Cup quarter-final with Coventry.

He said: “I cannot and I will not control a player’s private life. They must be intelligent people to have success at a big club and in football.

“I spoke with Ashley in private. He explained the details of what happened.

“I am a disciplinarian but every case is different. You have to judge what the circumstances were and that’s why I tackled him on his behaviour.

“He said he was, in his opinion, harassed a little bit by the photographers and that is why he reacted. Afterwards, he regretted that.

“At that moment they are out of the rules which are set by the club to a certain extent before a game. I spoke firmly to him, John and Michael.

“Ashley will be in the squad for Coventry. He has publicly apologised about his conduct and behaviour to the police officer and it is a rather private matter.

“There are rules inside this club regarding going out and also discipline, so I had a firm talk with him and the rest of the group about this.

“He went a bit too far. If he regrets it deeply and makes his apologies directly, then we have to close the case. That is why I tried to go with the daily routine because we have an FA Cup match.

“But they must not repeatedly show conduct which is counter-productive to the team. We, as a club, are talking firmly.”

Hiddink demands and expects the very best behaviour from his players.

He set the standard for punishing unruly stars when he sent the best midfielder in the world packing from Euro 96.

Unlike Cole, Holland star Edgar Davids was not pictured being taken to a cell in handcuffs to cool off after a night on the town. His ‘crime’ was to question Hiddink’s decision to pick an experienced white player — Ajax’s Danny Blind — ahead of himself or Clarence Seedorf.

Hiddink believes international footballers should not need to be told how to behave and insisted he does not want to become a chaperone during his stay in London.

He said: “I’m not a police officer to control them and nor am I the father figure. I want to have a very open, direct relationship where I can speak to them directly.

“Sometimes maybe to hug them a little bit but the other times I must be tough.

“If there is a situation that I don’t like I am firm with them. I don’t like to cover up.

“First of all they are players who are in this fantastic job and they have this responsibility, to themselves, to the club, to the team.”

Cole’s rap sheet over the last few years includes unsavoury incidents on and off the pitch.

But Hiddink has given the 28-year-old the chance to turn this latest negative into a positive starting today at the Ricoh Arena.

He said: “Now Ashley must stand up for the team, as he has done in the past.

“I’ve no complaints at all about that. He has played well but that’s why I’ve had a firm talk to him, because we have many things ahead of us in the coming weeks.

“Physically, he’s in condition to play, though at training on Friday he was mentally a little bit out of order.

“There’s no problem. I don’t know how comfortable a bed is in a police cell so I’m not sure if he rested well or not.

“Yes, this is a serious matter but you can still have a laugh about it. Once more, he made his apologies and didn’t suffer too much.”

However, should Chelsea suffer the pain of defeat at their Championship hosts, it is unlikely Hiddink will be quite so forgiving of his errant defender.

Chelsea’s troubled season could be defined inside the next four days.

After today’s quarter-final, they take a 1-0 lead to Juventus in the second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie.

Portuguese full-back Paulo Ferreira has been ruled out for the rest of the season after injuring his anterior cruciate ligament in training.

Ferreira, 30, is the third Blues player to suffer the knee problem this season following Joe Cole and Michael Essien.

But, on the plus side, midfielder Essien is fit again and in today’s squad, along with defender Ricardo Carvalho.

Hiddink added: “Paulo got injured yesterday and has anterior ligament damage. It means he is out for the season.

“But Essien and Carvalho both travel. I am happy to have two more players with international experience back in the squad.

“We want to get into the semi-finals of the FA Cup — the competition is highly regarded at home and abroad. But I have no priorities about the next two games.

“The next step after Coventry is very important against Juve. But I have not got any specific priorities.”

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