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