Fresh from FA Cup glory, 'Tsar Guus' looks forward to the crucial World Cup qualifier against Finland
Russia coach Guus Hiddink spoke to Russian newspaper Sport-Express about how he missed the country during his half-season stint at Chelsea."
You cannot even imagine how I missed Russia; in the morning while going to the airport I anticipated my meeting with the Russian capital," he said.
"I am looking forward to seeing all my friends and those working with me in the national squad.
"As you can see I arrived to the hotel a bit earlier than others. But in the evening when everybody comes I will communicate with them with pleasure.
"After London I went to Amsterdam to see my father. He was seriously ill for several months but now fortunately is pulling through.
"He has a smile on the face and I am happy to see it. I visited him on Tuesday."
The former Australia, South Korea and Netherlands boss continued, "I am having much energy still and after London I am already fully focused on the affairs of the Russian team.
"Recently I worked in very hard conditions. Starting from February I had only five days off, can you imagine?
"I get power from people I communicate with. When you really enjoy what you are doing you never feel tired.
"Last weekend we closed the chapter of my English career very efficiently. I think we can be glad with our results. Chelsea advanced in the overall standings and thus secured a direct way to the Champions League.
"The club won the English [FA] Cup and I think we looked quite good in the main European Cup."
Hiddink then dismissed the suggestion that he would stay on at Stamford Bridge in an advisory role, and refused to comment on the club's reported interest in CSKA Moscow star Yuri Zhirkov.
"There are only rumours that I am going to continue my cooperation with Chelsea. I am not having any official position in the club," he said.
"And even if I am going to arrive to London I will do it only in order to see the Russian players in the English Premier League.
"I know the rumours about possible transfer of Yuri Zhirkov to Chelsea but I won’t comment on this. I am here not to discuss it but to work with the national team."
Kerzhakov & Aldonin Impress
The Dutch tactician has recalled Dynamo Moscow forward Alexander Kerzhakov to the Russian team for the first time since Euro 2008.
The 26-year-old scored twice against Tomsk on the weekend in the Russian Premier League. CSKA’s Eugeni Aldonin also has been in good form, scoring a Russian Cup-winning goal over the weekend against Rubin Kazan.
"After Kerzhakov and Aldonin were capped for the national team they were much inspired that showed great display last weekend," Hiddink said.
"I am happy that the call-up to the national team added so many positive emotions. Both these players have been showing football of a high class and that made me invite them to the squad.
"I always follow the principle: if a player deserves a cap he will get it. When Kerzhakov returned from Spain he was not in his best form. And I did not invite him because of this.
"And now the forward looks fresh and plays efficiently, and can help the national team, so how could I possibly leave him out?
"Aldonin, Kerzhakov and [Vladimir] Bystrov can even appear in the starting line-up but on the other hand there are variants when they can be left on the bench."
Starting XI Undecided
Hiddink confessed that he did not yet have a crystal-clear idea of how Russia would line up for their World Cup qualifier against Finland on June 10.
"I have not yet decided the starting eleven. I have several questions that can be answered only during the training sessions," he said.
"In particular I should see how the newly arrived will look. One cannot forget that [Dimitri] Torbinsky and [Diniyar] Bilyaletdinov are sidelined because of injuries and Semak missed the Russian Cup final for the same reason. Moreover, Aleksandr Anyukov is suspended and that is a big loss for us.
"I know the group standings very well and realise that the draw will guarantee a second place in the group for us and thus a play-off match.
"But we are thinking only about the victory. And we understand that the match in Helsinki will be very difficult, they played well against Germany that managed to tie the game with great difficult.
"I am sure the coming match is one of the key games in the current World Cup qualifications. And we are going to Helsinki to win three points."
Kolodin: Three Points The Target
Dynamo and Russia defender Denis Kolodin spoke to Sport-Express about the upcoming clash in Helsinki.
"Now I think only about our rivalry with the German side for the top-spot in our qualifying group," he said.
If we want to head the group standings, it’s necessary to beat our opponents Finland, Wales, Azerbaijan, Liechtenstein and Germany. But if we lose points in Helsinki, it will be very hard to fight for the top spot.
"Having lost points in Helsinki Germany outplayed all their rivals, including Wales in away clash. Russia will have to play against Wales, so we have no right to fail in Helsinki."
Con Stamocostas, Goal.com