Guus Hiddink admits Chelsea are trying to overcome a feeling of emptiness as they limp towards the Premier League finish line.
It has been a disastrous campaign for the Blues as Jose Mourinho oversaw the club’s worst ever start to a season under Roman Abramovich’s rule.
They were never in the title race, dumped out of the Champions League by Paris Saint-Germain and knocked out of the FA Cup by Everton.
Not even the Capital One Cup would provide silverware this term as Stoke City ended their interest in that competition in October.
Hiddink took over following Mourinho’s sacking in December and was unable to challenge for the top four despite going unbeaten until last week’s loss at Swansea City.
Chelsea welcome Manchester City to Stamford Bridge this weekend in what would have been billed as a title-decider back at the start of term.
However, it is just another meaningless fixture for the Blues as they count down the days until Antonio Conte arrives to begin his rebuilding project.
Hiddink says it is uncharted territory for many of these players and has left there is a feeling of deflation around the camp.
He said: “It is strange here at the moment. This club is used to fighting for titles, or getting near. There is a little bit of emptiness here.
“After the defeats we experienced in the FA Cup and Champions League, you are a little empty. No silverware to go for.
“We knew it would be difficult and we were happy to get out of the relegation zone.
“We thought maybe we could get near silverware, but when it is not happening, so you feel a few days like ‘hey we are used to fighting for something but now nothing is at stake’. But you have to refocus.”
Hiddink has successfully propelled Chelsea away from the relegation zone and to 10th in the league since being thrust back into the limelight.
And the Dutchman has offered his consultancy services to the incoming Conte as the former Juventus boss prepares to take the reins.
He said: “To get the force back in the club is the aim.
“It’s the end of the season, analysis will be made, and recharge with fresh energy.
“At the end, If I am asked, I am available for this club, no matter who knocks on the door. One can make analysis, but It is not for me to do it in front of the press.”
Is Antonio Conte the right man for Chelsea?
1301 VOTES SO FAR