Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink has dismissed John Obi Mikel’s claim that the Blues are playing with more freedom, saying he has in fact instilled a sense of responsibility in the players.
Mikel suggested earlier in the week that Chelsea’s players had managed to steady the ship due to a new-found freedom under the stewardship of the Dutchman.
However, Hiddink doesn’t agree, saying Mikel’s assessment is wide of the mark.
“That’s not freedom, a lot of people often misunderstand freedom,” Hiddink was quoted as saying by getwestlondon. “When you think of freedom, it’s I can do anything I like, I can go anywhere and I can do what I will. I don’t like the word freedom.
“It’s more (what they have now) the feeling of, in every position, to have responsibility. Everyone has to take his responsibility, to do the job that is asked.
“We prepare the team in training, we prepare the team in team meetings, and then the execution is theirs, with a lot of responsibility. In big games, big players have to step up.
“It’s not a relaxed atmopshere. We all, inclucing me, want to perform 100 per cent. Even highly paid professionals must play with joy, and if you play with the joy, the best comes out of a player. Joy is not always laughing and smiling, it’s enjoying training and doing your job.
“When it feels natural, performances are unconditional. If you see kids or young players playing, they don’t worry about what’s going to happen in one hour, they play in the moment, and then they play as they should play.
“They (the players at Chelsea) came out a very difficult situation in the last half year, we cannot deny that. I didn’t want to know too much about the past, I just wanted to get the best out of the team.”
Chelsea are currently 12th in the Premier League standings with 33 points from 26 fixtures, and return to domestic on Sunday when Manchester City visit Stamford Bridge in the fifth round of the FA Cup.