Chelsea have appointed Guus Hiddink as their new manager until the end of the season.
The Dutchman, who had a previous spell in charge at Stamford Bridge in 2009, succeeds Jose Mourinho, who on Thursday paid the price for the club’s disastrous start to the season.
Hiddink, 69, whose last post was as Holland coach, said on the club’s official website: “I am excited to return to Stamford Bridge. 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.”
He added: ‘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.”
Hiddink is at Stamford Bridge for Saturday’s match with Sunderland but Mourinho’s number two Steve Holland will take control of the team alongside Eddie Newton, who is now assistant first-team coach.
Hiddink previously took temporary charge of Chelsea in February 2009 and guided the Blues to FA Cup success at Wembley.
Chelsea’s announcement came hot on the heels of Mourinho revealing he is already looking for a route back into management.
Mourinho was axed after Chelsea followed up their title win last term with nine defeats from their opening 16 games.
But the Portuguese, who released statement through the agency which represents him, is ready for a new challenge.
“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,” CAA said in a statement.
“Because of his love of football, you will see Jose at football grounds working and supporting friends. He will not be attending any high-profile games because he wants to discourage any speculation about his future.
“During his career, Jose has sometimes chosen to leave a club, but only at Chelsea has the club decided that he should leave.
“Each time represents for him the end of a cycle, and the opportunity to start a new one. Jose hopes that his future after Chelsea this time will be as successful as when he left the club in 2007.”
Blues chairman Bruce Buck used his programme notes to shed some light on the events of the past few days after owner Roman Abramovich’s patience finally ran out.
He wrote: “On Thursday the difficult decision was made for Jose Mourinho to leave the club. I can assure you it was not a decision we took lightly
“Nor was it a spur-of-the-moment decision; Mr Abramovich and the board anguished over it for some time. The decision was made for no reason other than to do what we believe is in the best interests of this club.
“We will not forget what Jose achieved here during his two spells as manager.
“But the start of this season has come as a major disappointment to the owner, the board and Chelsea fans everywhere and I think it is fair to say nobody expected us to be in the position we are in the Premier League just before Christmas.
“Now we have to look forward and, in order to make the most out of what remains of this campaign, we believed a managerial change was needed.”
Captain John Terry, meanwhile, attempted to shoot down rumours that Mourinho was axed due to the influence of the players at the club.
In his captain’s notes, the defender wrote: “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.
“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.
“We players have to look at our performances and take responsibility for where Chelsea sit in the table right now. The manager going doesn’t change that we are responsible, and to be 16th in the table is not acceptable from us.”
Mourinho wasted little time in reappearing in a football stadium, attending Brighton’s Amex Stadium on Saturday for their noon Sky Bet Championship clash with Middlesbrough.