Wilkins: 'Chelsea are the team to beat'
In an interview with Al Jazeera, former Chelsea assistant coach says Blues are best-placed for coming season.
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2011 13:02
 Wilkins, right, has not ruled out working with former Blues manager Ancelotti again after praising their 'great relationship' [GALLO/GETTY]

Former Chelsea assistant coach Ray Wilkins believes Chelsea have a great chance to win the English Premier League next season.
As someone who has seen the inner workings of the club, Wilkins thinks Chelsea can knock Manchester United off their perch, despite the fact they are currently managerless after sacking Carlo Ancelotti.
With first-hand experience of how good the Chelsea players are the former QPR manager doesn't believe Alex Ferguson's team are unbeatable.
"I think if you finish above Chelsea you'll win the league. I think Chelsea have every chance. The dressing room is full of winners, of experience and of quality and I think they might have a bit too much for Manchester United this year."
An easy start?
The English Premier League fixtures – which were released on Friday – seem to have been kind to Chelsea with opening games against Stoke, West Brom, Norwich and Sunderland.
Wilkins said the fixtures could be instrumental in helping his former team side get off to flying start. 
"It is not a really difficult opening couple of fixtures for them. Having looked at the fixtures this year it appears the computer has been rather kind to them. They have every chance of getting twelve points from their first four games."
Regardless of whether Chelsea can win these matches, Wilkins knows they will meet Manchester United with fire in their bellies on September 17th.
"Chelsea will want to wrestle the Barclays Premier League back from Manchester United because last year would have been hurting those guys."
Wilkins remains fond of his former side despite being sacked as assistant coach a few months into last season. 

"I still don't know the reason why they [Chelsea] got rid of me. No one has ever told me. I had dinner with the chairman and even he couldn't tell me"

Ray Wilkins

"I still don't know the reason why they got rid of me. No one has ever told me. I had dinner with the chairman and even he couldn't tell me."
His time at Chelsea ended on a sour note but Wilkins managed to build good relationships with both Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti, who both had spells managing at the Bridge.

Although the press has reported Hiddink is keen to bring Wilkins back to Chelsea if he is appointed their new manager, Wilkins doesn't believe he will return to Stamford Bridge.
"I don't think they would take me back, whether I would reconsider it is another matter. You never say never as a coach, but I wouldn't imagine that would happen."

What could be a more likely scenario is seeing Wilkins join Ancelotti at his next club. Wilkins is certainly not ruling out working with his good friend again and the two have even scheduled to meet for dinner next week.
"We had a great relationship in the short period we were there together. He is a good guy, an exceptional coach and a winner and these are the guys you want to be associated with."
Running the gauntlet
The rumour mill continues to churn about who will be the next Chelsea manager.

Former interim manager Guus Hiddink is a strong favourite to return to Stamford Bridge [GALLO/GETTY]

Most expect Turkey manager Guus Hiddink to run the gauntlet under owner Roman Abramovich, especially after the Turkey's FA president Mahmut Ozgener decision to step down.

Ozgener was the man who originally appointed Hiddink. 
Wilkins thinks Hiddink's appointment would only be a good thing for the side.
"If it was Guus then he knows those players inside out, so a new manager wouldn’t be a problem. With Guus Chelsea can win the Barclays Premier League next season."
But whether Chelsea can win the Champions League is another issue entirely.
"Barcelona are out on their own at the moment. They play a different type of football. It is them, and then the rest of us."

"I don't think anyone can beat them over two matches because they are too good but Chelsea are one of the only teams to be able to beat them over one."

"Barcelona can be beaten and they will be beaten at some stage."
But first Chelsea must find a new manager, and preferably fast. 

Al Jazeera
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