Nevin: Chelsea cannot win Europa League
By Football News
Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin doubts the club have the experience and ability to win the Europa League this season.
Chelsea will face Sparta Prague in the last 32 of the competition and should they progress will come up against either Ajax or Steaua Bucharest in the last 16.
Nevin believes Chelsea are in transition this season and therefore feels it will be difficult for them to win the tournament, especially with teams such as Atletico Madrid still in the draw.
Nevin said: "I suspect it has come a year early for this transitional team to win it, though. They are very much in the early stages of rebuilding their squad and style of play and I would only put them as third favourites, at best, to win it.
"I'm sure Rafa (manager Rafael Benitez) will be relieved to avoid Atletico Madrid, who will be the ones to beat. When it comes to the draw you can only ask for two things – a home draw in the second leg and a short trip. They've got both of them.
"The fans will enjoy Prague, it's a good city to visit. Sparta shouldn't present too many difficulties and Chelsea should progress."
The 49-year-old believes Chelsea will still give the competition their all despite their disappointment of not competing in the Champions League, with players such as John Terry and Frank Lampard wanting to add to their silverware collection.
Nevin says even if Chelsea were to win the tournament, he doubts whether it will be enough to keep Benitez in the manager's job permanently.
"It is a sad day for Chelsea that they are in the Europa League and not still defending their Champions League crown, but I' sure they will take the competition seriously," he said.
"I know that senior players, such as Frank Lampard and John Terry will be desperate to win it because they are getting near the end of their careers and it might be the last one they win.
"Rafa also has personal reasons for wanting to do well. Much of his best work has been done on the European stage and I'm confident he will take Chelsea far in this too.
"I don't think winning it will be enough to keep him in the job, but he knows he is only an interim boss and it will look good on his CV.
"It will help raise his profile and will enable him to get a better job if and when he leaves Chelsea."