Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink has said that the team are applying tactics from a wide range of sports in training. He said they had to implement rugby and handball in their training regime, because the players seem to have gone soft under former boss Jose Mourinho.
Hiddink arrived at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea were languishing in 16th position, just one point above the relegation zone, before Mourinho was sacked in December. The club is now 11th and through to the FA Cup quarter-finals.
“I make a combination of handball and rugby, for warming up [his players]. Because in rugby – I love to see rugby also – you are entitled, when one has the ball, to grab and make a wrestling move,” Hiddink said ahead of Tuesday’s English Premier League fixture against Norwich City.
“I was brought up as a physical teacher in the academies. I loved to do all the sports and people were brought up to practise those sports. When I was 18, 19, you get your physical education and I did boxing as well [as judo].
“It’s a nice sport and if you train for boxing it’s one of the toughest for endurance and aggression. Physically it’s very tough but I liked it very much.”
“If they are going into a fight – within the rules – in football, then I think you can gain a lot from other sports, including rugby.
“We installed and organised in my time at PSV a kind of wrestling with the youngsters, because on the pitch you have this physical contact and if you do those exercises you get a very good feeling of balance, how you can fight in your duels and so on. That’s very important.
“I’m strongly in favour of wrestling [to develop footballers], especially in terms of how you fall. You’re not afraid to fall and if you jump, you manage to land like a cat. If you have that experience as a youngster it will benefit you a lot.”