Joe Cole: Chelsea are ‘genuine contenders’ to win the UCL AND Premier League

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Joe Cole believes former club Chelsea are ‘genuine contenders’ to win the Premier League and Champions League this season and insisted Liverpool and the two Manchester clubs could also go far in Europe’s elite competition.
The Blues secured qualification for the Champions League knockout stages with the win against Rennes and are looking for their first success in the competition since 2012, a side boss Frank Lampard was part of.
Lampard’s men have also gone three seasons without lifting the league title and sit two points behind leaders Tottenham after spending some £220million on summer signings.
But speaking ahead of their trip to Sevilla, Cole insists the Stamford Bridge club could well claim the double, with the additions of Ben Chilwell, Edouard Mendy and Thiago Silva having eliminated the ‘glaring weaknesses’ in their side.
‘I think they [Chelsea] are genuine contenders,’ Cole said.
‘I think all the English sides, you can’t discount any of them from going all the way in the Champions League because of the quality and the strength of our league.
‘I don’t feel there is any weaknesses in the Chelsea side at the moment. I feel there aren’t any glaring weaknesses, there are areas to improve on. But if you look at the last two months, certainly since Chilwell, Mendy, and Silva have got into the back four, the clean sheets have started to happen.
‘We look safe and secure from set pieces. So those things have improved dramatically from last season. I think there’s still areas where Chelsea can improve and they will improve.
‘But certainly, I put them down as contenders to win the Champions League and the [Premier] League this year. But as well the other teams, your Man City’s, Liverpool, even United have a rich tradition in is competition. I think English clubs will fare well this year.
‘Bayern Munich I think are rightly so the favourites being the champions, but I would put the money on English sides going deep into the competition and at least one of them getting to the final. I think it’s a good year for us.’
Former Manchester United defender Wes Brown concurred with former England team-mate Cole, stating the four English sides are capable of conquering any side on the continent while insisting a lack of competition aside from current champions Bayern Munich means there is a ‘great chance’ for them to succeed.
‘I feel that the English clubs have really good squads, they spent money,’ Brown said.
‘Your Liverpool’s, your City’s, your Chelsea’s, your Man United’s, on their day they’re more than capable of beating any team in Europe.
‘I think it more comes down to maybe consistency, you’ve got your Bayern Munich, obviously. But if you’re looking at it as an overall, there is a great chance for one of us getting to that final and winning it.
‘I can’t, except for Bayern Munich, name a team right now that you could go ‘Yeah, they’re probably the best team in Europe’, which you would say was Bayern Munich. Other than that you would definitely put the next four as the English clubs.’
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