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No split at Chelsea, says Wilkins

(Left to right) Luiz Felipe Scolari, Ray Wilkins and Guus Hiddink
Hiddink (right) has replaced Scolari (left), but assistant Wilkins remains

Chelsea's assistant manager Ray Wilkins has denied reports there is a split in the dressing-room after the sacking of manager Luiz Felipe Scolari.

The Brazilian was dismissed on Monday, with suggestions that some players were not happy with his management style.

But Wilkins said: "The reports are totally untrue, we don't have any sort of split, none whatsoever.

"Every coach has their own methods and some players like them, some don't - it happens at every football club."

Captain John Terry hinted on Tuesday that the dressing-room was divided, saying: "Scolari had my full support, I'm sure two or three of the other players would say the same."

But Wilkins added: "Whenever any coach coaches a club as big as Chelsea, the players who don't play are going to be disgruntled, that's a fact and it's no different here.

"They all want to play, but you can only pick 11 people, so it's very difficult for the coach."

Wilkins is in charge for Saturday's FA Cup tie at Watford before handing over the reins to Guus Hiddink.

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The Dutchman, currently boss of Russia's national team, has agreed to manage Chelsea for the rest of the season, and met with players on staff on Thursday.

He will work with Wilkins, who rejected a claim by Scolari that Chelsea do not have a special talent in their squad capable of turning matches.

Scolari, in his first interview since being dismissed, told France Football magazine that their failure to sign Robinho - who ended up at Manchester City - from Real Madrid last summer cost them dear.

"At Chelsea we didn't have the player who can make the difference by himself by producing something magical on the pitch," said Scolari.

"In the past, Arjen Robben was at Chelsea and he could make the difference. But now there is no-one.

"Robinho could have been this player. He is not afraid to dribble, to take a risk. As a Brazilian, I like this.

Player power not a factor - Wilkins

"The team isn't Brazilian enough. It is a 'bureaucratic' team. That's the style of the players. That's why Robinho would have done a lot of good for the team."

But Wilkins hit back: "Football is all about opinions, and Felipe has his own opinions on the game.

"My opinion is that we do have special players at this club, a number of them in fact."

Wilkins also admitted he was stunned by the announcement of Scolari's dismissal and said he enjoyed his five-month spell under the 2002 World Cup-winning manager.

"I was shocked, yes. He was a very decent man, and I enjoyed working with him immensely," he said.

"But football is a tough game and a couple of results went against us and the decision was made.

"I was shocked, yes, and disappointed, because I enjoyed his company, he was a smashing guy."

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see also
Boss sackings add to Chelsea loss
13 Feb 09 |  Business
Hiddink refuses to concede title
12 Feb 09 |  Chelsea
Ancelotti rules out Chelsea move
12 Feb 09 |  Chelsea
Chelsea confirm Hiddink as coach
11 Feb 09 |  Chelsea
Man City beat Chelsea to Robinho
01 Sep 08 |  Man City


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