Former Chelsea coach Ray Wilkins insist the senior players are not to blame for Andre Villas-Boas' demise.

The Portuguese had a rocky relationship with big names at the club and had rowed with Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole.

But Wilkins, who was No2 at Stamford Bridge to Carlo Ancelotti, said: "I found the players an absolute delight to work with.

"They are a very nice bunch of guys, they are a hard-working bunch and, coupled with that, they are an extremely talented bunch. We didn't have a problem.

"I don't think the players swayed the owner. It appears they are looking for change at Chelsea and I just feel they went about it too quickly with AVB.

"To change what has been such a force - not only in the Premier League but in European football - overnight, you just can't do that.

"It takes a gradual adjustment. Chelsea have gone hammer and tongs at it and they should have taken their time in switching over."