Guus Hiddink has admitted he would ”love” to see his current Chelsea side prevent Manchester United from completing the quintuple this season.
United beat Tottenham Hotspur on penalties at Wembley on Sunday to lift the Carling Cup, while they also secured the FIFA Club World Cup title in Japan just before Christmas.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s men lead the Premier League and are still in the FA Cup and Champions League, but Hiddink, despite being seven points adrift of the champions, remains optimistic of overhauling the Old Trafford.
”I hope that we can stop him. I would love to stop him on this aim,” said the Dutchman, who is in charge of Chelsea until the end of the season. ”I have not had that many experiences with him directly, direct confrontations, although I remember once it was my birthday when PSV [Eindhoven] were eliminated by Manchester United.
”I have met him sometimes when I have been to Manchester United, for a couple of pre-season tournaments.
”I like him very much, although we don’t know each other very well. I respect him very much.”
Hiddink is impressed with the strength in depth United have been able to draw upon.
He said: ”They have been a very dominant, organised club for many years. It’s a good philosophy, in my opinion. Other clubs may try to go the same way – some clubs have their own academies as well, like this club.
”You want to make your players competitive for the first-team squad, as well.”
The Dutchman, who remains coach of Russia, has no intentions of staying longer than the end of the season, but he admits he is enjoying his time in England.
”I know the demands are high. I am not going back, lying down and lighting a cigar,” he said. ”I demand high as well for my group where I have my influence, but I like the approach to football here in England. I like the approach, the professionalism at every level. The man in the street understands football perfectly.”
Hiddink, though, says he has no intention of leaving Russia.
”I would like to finish this project with these guys with whom I have been working for several years,” he said. ”It is not just down to contractual obligations. I want to do it.”