Former Chelsea winger Nevin doubts club's Europa League chances

The Scot believes it will be difficult for the Blues to win the competition in a transitional year and feels even a trophy win will not be enough to keep Rafa Benitez as manager

By Russel Stoddart

Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin doubts the club has the experience and ability to win the Europa League this season.

The Blues will face Sparta Prague in the last 32 of the competition and should they progress will come against either Ajax or Steua Bucharest in the last 16.

Nevin believes Chelsea are in transition this season therefore feels it will be difficult for them to win the tournament, especially with teams such as Atletico Madrid still in the draw.

3/4 Chelsea are 3/4 with PaddyPower to win the first leg of their tie against Sparta Prague in the Europa League
He told "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 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 over not competing in the Champions League, and feels that players such as John Terry and Frank Lampard will want to add to their silverware collection.

However, Nevin says that even if the Blues were to win the tournament, he doubts whether it will be enough to keep Rafa Benitez in the manager’s job permanently.

He added: "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.

"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 [Benitez] 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."

Nevin also stated that there is enough incentive for Chelsea to give the competition their all as they will be only one a small number of sides to complete a clean sweep of club trophies.

"They will be one of one a select group of clubs to have won all Uefa's club trophies if they are successful and that will be a huge incentive,” he said.

"Fans of other clubs always goad Chelsea about their lack of history in terms of silverware but if they can complete the set that would shut a few of them up.”