Ray Wilkins today leapt to the defence of Chelsea’s players in the wake of Andre Villas-Boas’ sacking.
Villas-Boas lost his job yesterday amid reports of dressing-room unrest at Stamford Bridge, with owner Roman Abramovich finally losing patience after a run of five wins from 16 matches.
But Wilkins, who was controversially fired as Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant in November 2010, told talkSPORT: “I found the players an absolute delight to work with.
“They are a very nice bunch of guys, they are a hard-working bunch and, coupled with that, they are an extremely talented bunch. We didn’t have a problem.
“I don’t think the players swayed the owner. It appears they are looking for change at Chelsea and I just feel they went about it too quickly with AVB.
“To change what has been such a force – not only in the Premier League but in European football – overnight, you just can’t do that.
“It takes a gradual adjustment. Chelsea have gone hammer and tongs at it and they should have taken their time in switching over.”
Reports claim Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho are top of Abramovich’s wishlist to succeed Villas-Boas, with Guus Hiddink having recently taken over as manager of Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.
Wilkins said: “It’s almost as if all options have been exhausted.
“Hiddink has just gone to Russia so he is out.
“I would say Mourinho because I think Mourinho will leave Real Madrid.
“I think he will win La Liga comfortably and he will think his job’s done there. He’s still in the Champions League, he’s got a chance of winning that.
“He’s got a wonderful squad of players there but I think he will leave. He, for me, would be the perfect option.”