The Stamford Bridge legend, now Watford manager, labels the Blues as Premier League contenders and insists that he will be given time to bring success to the Hornets
The Belgian has taken to the Premier League in impressive fashion, scoring once and racking up an incredible six assists in just three top-flight matches following his big-money summer switch from Lille.
When asked who he thought were title contenders, Zola told Gazetta dello Sport: "Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs.
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Zola was appointed Watford manager this summer after the Pozzo family's takeover and the former West Ham boss insists that he will be given time to bring success to Vicarage Road.
He declared: "[I joined] for two reasons: England and the project. My family wanted to come here, we have always been very comfortable. I like the ideas of [Giampaolo] Pozzo. He wants to create another Udinese here in England.
"They have asked me for a season of adjustment. We will aim for a place on the play-offs and promotion next season."
The 46-year-old also challenged Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli to keep improving after his fine Euro 2012 performances for Italy.
He opined: "Balotelli depends on Balotelli. The European Championships proved he can be a champion, but he can still do better."