Manchester United first-team coach Rene Meulensteen has written off title rivals Chelsea as too old to provide a sustained challenge for the Premier League this season.
The Blues have nine players aged over 30 and Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant is convinced that will count against them as they try to keep pace with a United squad infused with young blood this season.
While Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas has to rely on ageing stars like Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and John Terry, Meulensteen expects United starlets Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones, Tom Cleverley and Chris Smalling to sweep their rivals aside on a wave of enthusiasm.
He also believes Manchester City, tipped as serious contenders for the title, will not be able to compete with United’s experience in winning silverware – though feels they have a better chance than Arsenal or Liverpool.
United are currently top of the table after winning their first three matches, including their emphatic 8-2 rout of Arsenal last weekend.
Meulensteen claims United have nothing to fear from any of their top-four competition, insisting the Gunners have regressed and Liverpool are still rebuilding.
“We are not afraid of anyone at all. City have made very good signings, but we have something they don’t possess. We know what it takes to win trophies,” he told the Daily Star.
“City are still a big rival. But Arsenal have gone backwards, Liverpool are still in a stage of rebuilding and Chelsea have just made one major signing in Juan Mata.
“Besides, Chelsea’s squad is too old, and their tempo is not high enough to win the Premier League.
“Our win over Arsenal was something special. Their squad has lost a lot of quality with (Cesc) Fabregas and (Samir) Nasri’s departures. It’s as though nothing is going right for Arsene Wenger right now.”