Ray Wilkins has defended Chelsea's players following criticism of the part they played in the wake of Andre Villas-Boas' sacking at the weekend. Wilkins, who was controversially fired as Carlo Ancelotti's assistant in November 2010, told talkSPORT: "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."

As to a replacement Wilkins added: "It's almost as if all options have been exhausted.

"Hiddink has just gone to Russia so he is out.

"I would say Mourinho because I think Mourinho will leave Real Madrid.

"I think he will win La Liga comfortably and he will think his job's done there. He's still in the Champions League, he's got a chance of winning that.

"He's got a wonderful squad of players there but I think he will leave. He, for me, would be the perfect option."

 Click here to reach the No1 destination for hard news and exciting gossip on Chelsea