Chelsea’s new interim manager Guus Hiddink watched his team beat Sunderland 3-1 on Saturday, while Norwich City won at Manchester United to imperil their manager Louis van Gaal.
Appointed prior to kick-off in place of the sacked Jose Mourinho, Hiddink was in the stands at a discontented Stamford Bridge as Chelsea prevailed through goals from Branislav Ivanovic, Pedro Rodriguez and Oscar.
Chelsea’s fans used the match as an opportunity to take out their anger over Mourinho’s dismissal on their own players, but captain John Terry said he sympathized with them.
“Rightly so the fans are disappointed and so are we,” he told Sky Sports. “We don’t want to be where we are.
“Credit to all the players. Our thoughts are with the manager (Mourinho), because we are disappointed. It falls on his head, unfortunately.”
There was also a bilious atmosphere at Old Trafford, where Norwich won 2-1 to condemn United to a third straight defeat in all competitions and send them out of the top four.
Van Gaal was assailed with boos from the home supporters at the final whistle, having earlier been taunted with chants of “Jose Mourinho, he’s taking your job!” from the away end.
United’s next home fixture is against Chelsea on December 28 and social media was quickly abuzz with speculation that Mourinho could find himself sitting in Van Gaal’s seat by then.
Asked if he believes he will be given time to correct United’s course, Van Gaal said: “It’s not up to me to say about that question, but we shall see.”
A world away from the managerial intrigue, Claudio Ranieri, the former Chelsea manager, saw his Leicester City side win 3-2 at Everton to guarantee that they will top the table on Christmas Day.
Hiddink, 69, has returned to Chelsea in the hope of pulling off a salvage job similar to the one he masterminded in 2009, when he led the club to FA Cup glory after being parachuted in by owner Roman Abramovich.
Pro-Mourinho banners were visible around the ground — one bearing the message “You let Jose down, you let us down” — and his name was chanted by the home supporters right from kick-off.
But with first-team coach Steve Holland in the dug-out, Chelsea made a storming start, Ivanovic heading in Willian’s corner in the fifth minute and Pedro slamming home eight minutes later.
100+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $29.99/mo. for fubo Español Package
- Watch Premier League, LaLiga, Liga MX & MLS
- Includes NBC, NBCSN, ESPN, FS1, FS2, TUDN, beIN SPORTS and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
- Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
- Watch LaLiga, Primeira Liga and Copa Libertadores
- Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $5.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $12.99/mo.)
- Features Serie A, Bundesliga, FA Cup, EFL & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
- Starting price: $5.99/mo.
- Features Champions League, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ