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Dutch coach Guus Hiddink is set to combine running the Russian
Dutch coach Guus Hiddink is set to combine running the Russian national side with managing Chelsea FC until the end of the season.

Chelsea sacked Brazilian manager Luiz Felipe Scolari on Monday after a run of what the club called "deteriorating" results.

The London club is owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, whose National Football Academy pays Hiddink's salary in Russia. Hiddink told the British media on Tuesday that he wanted to help Chelsea out, adding that his relationship with the Russian businessman was a major factor in his decision.

"This would only be for the next two or three months, until the end of the season. I will not leave my job with the Russian national team. It's out of the question. When I took the Russia job it was a long-term project and I don't like to leave it unfinished," he was quoted as saying by the BBC.

"I have good relations with Roman Abramovich. I would like to help them if I could," he also said.

The Russian national side has just two World Cup qualifiers before the end of the European season - at home to Azerbaijan on March 28 and away to Lichtenstein on April 1, both of which should be easy wins.

Hiddink became the manager of the Russian national team in 2006 and immediately set about rebuilding a demoralized side that had not managed to get out of the group stages at a major tournament since the break up of the Soviet Union. The Dutch coach brought in a host of new, young players, and Russia were transformed into an attacking, adventurous side, subsequently making the semi-finals of Euro 2008.

Despite some initial resistance in Russia to having a foreigner in charge of the national team, the vast majority of the country has now been won over to Hiddink. Indeed, such was the affection felt for the Dutchman that babies were named in his honor after the side's 3-1 victory over the Netherlands in the quarterfinals of Euro 2008.

Hiddink's contract runs through the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, although he earlier said that had not ruled out extending it "if he felt needed."


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