Hiddink begins work with Anzhi
© AFP

Dutch coach Guus Hiddink took to the training pitch today with his new Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala in the hope of working another miracle for a team of ambition but no past success.

The 65-year-old has joined a side that has only spent five years in the Russian Premier League and has failed to find spark despite signing the star tandem of Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o and Brazilian veteran Roberto Carlos.

The club is currently trailing in eighth place, a full 13 points behind leaders Zenit St. Petersburg with just eight matches remaining.

Anzhi owner Suleyman Kerimov feels Hiddink still has the touch he enjoyed when leading Korea Republic to the semi-final of the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ and then falling a game short of the UEFA EURO 2008 final with Russia.

Hiddink will be bringing his trusted assistants Ton Du Chatinier and Zeljko Petrovic along for an 18-month stint.

I think Guud Hiddink is a trainer who could turn Anzhi into an enormous club.
Roman Pavlyuchenko

"The fact that Chinese and some other representatives offered me much more money makes no difference," Hiddink said in an interview published on the team's website.

"In my opinion, football should not only provide fans with pleasure but also create opportunities for people. Football is more than a game in which you need to finish first."

Hiddink told reporters he was "realistic" about Anzhi's chances this season, but one of the coach's star performers in Russia's 2008 squad said he thought Hiddink could make Anzhi into an "enormous club".

"When Guus Hiddink gets to work, the entire team starts playing a different game," striker Roman Pavlyuchenko told RIA Novosti.

"This always happens when he is put in charge. I think Guud Hiddink is a trainer who could turn Anzhi into an enormous club," added the former Tottenham Hotspur player.