Koe­man hails Hid­dink’s in­flu­ence as he pre­pares for Chelsea clash

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FINAL SAY - DE­CLAN WAR­RING­TON

RON­ALD KOE­MAN takes on Guus Hid­dink in the Bar­clays Premier League to­day know­ing his com­pa­triot is largely re­spon­si­ble for help­ing to shape him into the promis­ing man­ager he has be­come.

Chelsea in­terim man­ager Hid­dink coached Southamp­ton boss Koe­man while in­spir­ing PSV Eind­hoven to their first Euro­pean Cup, in 1988, and gave the re­tired de­fender his first coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence by re­cruit­ing him to his Hol­land staff for the 1998 World Cup.

Koe­man, 52, has since es­tab­lished him­self as a fine man­ager. And, while he cred­its the great Dutch in­no­va­tor Jo­han Cruyff for teach­ing him more than any other, he also recog­nises Hid­dink’s in­flu­ence on his de­vel­op­ment.

Koe­man has not spo­ken to Hid­dink since the fall­out to the lat­ter’s reap­point­ment as Hol­land man­ager in 2014 — a job Koe­man per­haps ex­pected to be of­fered. But Koe­man in­sisted he has moved on and that the pair re­tain a good un­der­stand­ing. “The big­gest in­flu­ence in my ca­reer as a player and as a coach is Jo­han Cruyff,” Koe­man said ahead of Southamp­ton’s clash with Chelsea at St Mary’s to­day. “He had a big part of that, but also Guus Hid­dink showed me when I was a player at PSV in de­tail what you need to play on a high level.

“I al­ways had a good un­der­stand­ing with him. Of course, we strug­gled a lit­tle bit af­ter the sit­u­a­tion with the na­tional team two years ago. But that is the past and I am still in a good un­der­stand­ing and re­la­tion­ship with Guus. I am look­ing for­ward to see­ing him.

“[Hid­dink and Cruyff] are dif­fer­ent as a coach and of course they have a lot of things to­gether about how they like to play foot­ball and how the team needs to play, but in dif­fer­ent ways. Hid­dink is very ex­pe­ri­enced and it is dif­fer­ent in a way how he treats his play­ers.

“[At PSV] we won the Euro­pean Cup and we had strong char­ac­ters in the dress­ing room but Guus was very clever and he was man­ag­ing that in a very good way. That was the prob­lem some­times be­cause strong char­ac­ters some­times fight against them­selves. But he was al­ways in a good way to man­age that. That was one of his big qual­i­ties.

“If you man­age at the high­est level, you have great foot­ball play­ers. It is not to teach them how to shoot or how to pass: it is that they play to­gether as a team, and us­ing the strengths of the play­ers, and sup­port­ing that. You learn from strengths of man­agers. If you are a player and you think ‘One day I will be the coach’, you take good strengths of the coaches you have in your ca­reer.”

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