New Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink has refused to raise the white flag on the Londoners' Premier League and UEFA Champions League ambitions despite the crisis which has engulfed the club.
The experienced Dutchman, drafted in as a replacement for the sacked Luiz Felipe Scolari by owner Roman Abramovich until the end of season, insists that there are plenty of grounds for optimism. His conviction's first test will come on Saturday when Chelsea tackle second-tier Watford for a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
"They are in several races - the FA Cup, the Champions League and also the league," Hiddink told Chelsea TV. "There is a 10-point difference (to league leaders Manchester United) but if you look in the past of this league and other leagues as well, some things can happen during the final stages of the championship.
"All the three roads are very important. The next game against Watford, and then Aston Villa and Juventus, and then you go on the path of the Champions League, and that is so attractive. The club has the experience to go to the final. I am not just here to add to my experience with the club and Premier League, but also I want to see these results as soon as possible.
"The players are very committed, I have seen the training session, but sometimes you can have a little bit different approach to get even more efficiency out of the players. That is where I am aiming at and if you add those individuals together and make a team, then everyone can bring a little bit more.... in the tactical and the strategic approach during the game. We might gain some profit."
Hiddink only agreed to take on the job because of his close friendship with Abramovich with the deal also allowing him to remain as Russia coach with whom he is plotting a path to the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. "What happens after May is clear because it is rather difficult to do the two jobs, and I have my obligations in Russia," insisted Hiddink.
"It is rather difficult because the Premier League is very challenging. We can do it now because there are one or two games until June with the national team of Russia. That is why we said we can do it now, and we can do it full-hearted and committed.
"Everyone knows the relation between Chelsea and the Russian Football Federation, and the academy of development of young players all over the country is significant. I was asked to come because of the relation with Roman Abramovich as well. Of course it is a big club as well, and let me be honest, I came because they asked me to join the club for the upcoming time."