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Page last updated at 22:34 GMT, Saturday, 14 February 2009

Don't write off Chelsea - Wilkins

Guus Hiddink
Hiddink sat in the stands for the match at Vicarage Road

Chelsea assistant coach Ray Wilkins has warned the club's rivals both at home and abroad that the best is yet to come from the Blues this season.

"People keep saying it's been a difficult season," said Wilkins after Chelsea's 3-1 FA Cup win over Watford.

"We are in the Cup and in the hunt for the Premier League and Champions League. You haven't seen the best yet."

He added: "When we get lady luck on our side I think you will see us start giving a few teams a good hiding."

Wilkins oversaw the team's preparations for the game despite the appointment of Guus Hiddink as temporary boss on Thursday.

The Dutchman, appointed until the end of the season following Luiz Felipe Scolari's dismissal, will take over team affairs next week.

"Guus has been in the dressing room to congratulate the boys," said Wilkins. "He also came in the dressing room before the game to wish the guys the best of luck."

Wilkins said his side deserved their victory, inspired by a Nicolas Anelka hat-trick after Watford had opened the scoring.

"Yes, we had a scare, but overall I think our performance merited a victory and we got it," said the former England midfielder.

"We are creating numerous chances, but we are not putting the ball into the net. That will come.


"I was delighted with the way the guys persevered. It is never easy when you go a goal down to a team in a lower division.

"It is extremely difficult, but we showed a tremendous amount of character to come back."

Wilkins singled out Anelka for special praise.

"Nicolas has done exceptionally well, but that's down to a lot of hard work by the player," said the assistant coach. "He is not the most vocal person on the planet, but he works hard on his game and is a wonderful finisher."

Scolari rarely played Anelka and Drogba together, but Wilkins brought the Ivorian back into the starting line-up for the game at Vicarage Road.

"I had a talk with Didier, a little one-to-one," said Wilkins. "As soon as the board said I would be taking this game, I had a gut feeling about Didier.

"It's been a difficult season for him, he's been in and out. It has been tough for him, but he is the type of guy who I thought would work better from the start than coming off the bench.

"He did respond and it was nice to see the big man back. He is a delight to have in the dressing room because he is extremely vocal."

Watford manager Brendan Rodgers, Chelsea's former reserve team boss, paid tribute to his players for almost recording one of the biggest upsets of the season.

"I thought we were outstanding in relation to the world-class squad we were playing against," he said.

"Right up to the end it could have been two-each but instead that little bit of quality came through and Nicolas got his third.

"I am very proud of the players and the supporters. The players are improving all the time. With 20 minutes to go I was thinking 'here we go' but then I should have known better because I have worked with these guys and they are top players."

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