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  Wednesday, October 23, 2019
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Chelsea's Champions League hero Branislav Ivanovic says Guus Hiddink has completely
Chelsea's Champions League hero Branislav Ivanovic says Guus Hiddink has completely transformed the London club since taking temporary charge at Stamford Bridge in February.

Former Lokomotiv Moscow defender Ivanovic scored Chelsea's first two goals, both powerful headers from corners, during the London club's impressive 3-1 win at Anfield in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal tie on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old Serbian international told Sport Express that the Dutch coach of the Russian national team had "changed everything about Chelsea."

"He's literally turned the team around 180 degrees," Ivanovic said.

When pressed on reports of dressing room conflicts under former trainer, Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari, Ivanovic said that, "I don't want to speak about what went on earlier. But right now everyone can see that everything has changed. Everyone is in a good mood, and we just need to continue in this spirit."

The Serb had not played for Chelsea for three months until he was picked by Hiddink for a league match against Newcastle last Saturday.

"I hadn't played for a long time, and Hiddink gave me a chance, which I tried my very best to take," he said.

Ivanovic played for Lokomotiv Moscow from 2006 to 2008, scoring five goals. He was part of the side that lifted the Russian Cup in 2007. He signed for Chelsea in January 2008 for around $18 million.

The player also revealed that Hiddink had instructed the team to take advantage of Liverpool's zonal marking at corners.

"He told me and my teammates to run quickly into the penalty box for corners, because for a team using zonal marking it's very difficult to stop a player who is moving. We knew that set pieces were our chance, and that we could use them to get a vital away goal. And after our first goal we realized that we could press on and gain a greater advantage," he said.

Hiddink's contract with Chelsea is due to expire at the end of May. He has consistently ruled out extending it, saying that he intends to return fulltime to his job of coaching the Russian national side. However, with a revitalized Chelsea in the race for the Premier League title, the FA Cup and the Champions League, calls for him to take on the job on a permanent basis are certain to grow.


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