Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes that Chelsea will provide a big challenge for their Premier League crown this season and dismisses suggestions that the Blues squad is too old to compete.
United and Andre Villas-Boas' side will face each other for the first time this season later this month and Ferguson admits that he has a lot of respect for the Blues and their experienced squad.
"They have tremendous experience with the likes of Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Petr Cech, John Terry, Alex, Nicolas Anelka, Fernando Torres – there aren’t any young kids in that team," he told Inside United.
"But they don’t have 36-or 37-year-olds like Ryan Giggs. Lampard and Drogba are 33, Anelka is 32 – not dissimilar to [Michael] Carrick and Rio Ferdinand, and we wouldn’t be saying they are dead and buried, would we? So why should they be? They’ll still be a big threat and we expect them to challenge."
At 33 Villas-Boas is the youngest manager in the Premier League, although Ferguson is convinced that with the right assistance, the Portuguese has what it takes to succeed at the top.
He said: "He has a different set-up there to me, but I’m sure he’ll get plenty of advice from others and he’ll do fine. I don’t know much about him.
"He’s a young man and it’s a big step coming into the Premier League from the Portuguese championship, but given time and support anything is possible."