Hiddink the new boss for Chelsea

Guus Hiddink has returned to Chelsea as manager "until the end of the season" following the sacking of Jose Mourinho, the struggling Premier League champions announced on Saturday.

New Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink sat in the stands for Chelsea's game against Sunderland.   -  REUTERS

Guus Hiddink has returned to Chelsea as manager "until the end of the season" following the sacking of Jose Mourinho, the struggling Premier League champions announced on Saturday.

The experienced Dutch coach, 69, returns to a role he previously performed in 2009, when he led Chelsea to glory in the FA Cup.

"I am excited to return to Stamford Bridge," Hiddink said in a statement on the Chelsea website.

"Chelsea is one of the biggest clubs in the world, but is not where it should be at the moment. However, I am sure we can all turn this season around.

"I am looking forward to working with the players and staff at this great club and especially renewing my wonderful relationship with the Chelsea fans."

Chelsea said Hiddink would attend their game against Sunderland on Saturday, but that first-team coach Steve Holland would take charge of the team.

Mourinho, 52, was sacked by Chelsea for the second time on Thursday after a run of nine defeats in 16 games saw them slump to within a point of the relegation zone.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich previously turned to Hiddink in February 2009 after sacking Luiz Felipe Scolari.

"The owner and the board welcome back a coach with a wealth of top-level experience and success, including his previous spell with the club in 2009 when we lifted the FA Cup," Chelsea said in a statement.

"Mr Abramovich and the board believe that Guus has what it takes to get the best out of our talented squad."

Well travelled and vastly experienced, Hiddink began his coaching career with PSV Eindhoven and led the club to their first ever European Cup success in 1988.

He has also managed Fenerbahce, Valencia, Real Madrid, Real Betis and Anzhi Makhachkala, as well as the national teams of the Netherlands, twice, South Korea, Australia, Russia and Turkey. His most recent role, as Netherlands coach, came to an end in June after a poor start to qualifying for Euro 2016.

Hiddink's first game at the Chelsea helm will be the Boxing Day fixture at home to Watford next Saturday, which is followed by a trip to Manchester United on December 28.

Writing in the match programme for the Sunderland game, Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said the club had "anguished" over the decision to dismiss Mourinho "for some time".

"Please believe me when I say the decision was made for no reason other than to do what we believe is in the best interests of this club," he added.

"We are one of the biggest clubs in the world and we are all determined, as a collective unit, to get back to where we should be."

Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo said "palpable discord between manager and players" was a factor in Mourinho's dismissal, but captain John Terry said player unrest was not the reason for his departure.

"We are aware there have been rumours of player power at the club, but I want to make it clear that is not the case," Terry wrote in the programme.

"We leave all decisions to Mr Abramovich and the board, and know that our job, as players, is to focus on getting results on the pitch."

Mourinho attended the Championship match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Middlesbrough on Saturday in his first public appearance since his sacking.

Sporting a newly shaven head and wearing a dark jacket, he was photographed in a seat at the Amex Stadium, where his former Real Madrid assistant Aitor Karanka was taking charge of Middlesbrough.

The agency that represents Mourinho said in a statement that he would not be taking a sabbatical and would be attending matches in order to provide support to his "friends" in the game.

"He will not be taking a sabbatical, he isn't tired, he doesn't need it, he is very positive, and is already looking forward," said a statement from CAA, which said Mourinho would remain in London.