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Chelsea unveil coach Scolari

Latest update : 2008-07-09

Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari gave his first press conference as Chelsea manager. Vowing to have a shot at the Champions League, Scolari said emblematic player Franck Lampard would stay in London for at least another year.

Luiz Felipe Scolari has warned Chelsea's rivals that he won't pull any punches in the Premier League title fight.

 

Scolari has never been afraid to deliver a knockout blow on or off the pitch and the Brazilian was quick to emphasise his street-fighting credentials as he set his sights on English football's heavy-weights.

 

The 59-year-old is a shrewd operator who knows exactly what buttons to push to get the best out of his players. But he also has a fiery temperament that occasionally flares in spectacular fashion.

 

Scolari's most famous eruption came during his time as Portugal coach when he punched Serbia's Ivica Dragutinovic following a touchline clash in a Euro 2008 qualifier.

 

As a newcomer in the Premier League, Scolari could have opted to keep a low profile while he finds his feet.

 

But although he insists he has the utmost respect for his opponents, he won't be standing on ceremony when he goes head to head with Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger and Liverpool's Rafa Benitez.

 

"Am I still a fighter? Maybe! I've been involved in situations like other coaches. It's normal," Scolari said.

 

"I fight for my beliefs. But I respect other people. The other coaches, the fans. I respect them.

 

"I know some referees make mistakes because everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes are important but, afterwards, there will be no problem.

 

"The last time was difficult to explain. I'm now friends with the boy we had the fight with, Dragutinovic. But no, I'm not friends with Javier Clemente (Serbia coach)."

 

Scolari doesn't suffer fools gladly but his desire transmits to his players with impressive effect.

 

He commanded total respect from the Brazil squad he led to 2002 World Cup glory, while several of the Portugal team he took to the Euro 2004 final regard him as a father-figure.

 

He is determined to foster the same kind of rapport among the millionaire egos at Chelsea.

 

"Until now, everything I have fought for and tried to achieve I have done. Even when it was very difficult, I got there and my team is the same," he said.

 

"Maybe in this season we will have many difficult moments. But we will arrive there, sure. I am determined to do that. I coached in Saudi Arabia, at Gremio, Palmeiras, it was the same. We arrived where we wanted to be."

 

"It is impossible for me to say if we'll win this championship or that one because I will try to say to the players, after tomorrow, one year, we will play the League Cup the same as we play the Champions League."

 

Jose Mourinho is cast from a similiar mould to Scolari and his Chelsea reign ended because couldn't maintain a working relationship with Roman Abramovich.

 

Yet the Brazilian has no intention of being a yes-man for the the Blues owner either.

 

"I am the coach. It's my job to say 'this player is the best; this one isn't the best'," Scolari said.

 

"I clarified with Roman. He said that I have control of the numbers. If somebody comes, somebody has to go. They're okay with this.

 

"All of the players at the club I haven't chosen because I arrived three days ago.

 

"But if I believe that they are the best for Chelsea, I'll put them on the field. No problem. In the future? It is my decision to put the players in the field or not."

 

Scolari conceded there will be plenty of changes as he trims Chelsea's over-sized 32-man squad down to no more than 25 players. He insisted Frank Lampard will stay for at least a year, but several others including Didier Drogba look set to leave.

 

Those remaining will come under the watchful eye of psychologist Regina Brandao, who Scolari uses to compile profiles of his players.

 

"When Regina is free, I will invite her to come here and visit us," Scolari said.

 

"She gives me the profile for the players. She tells me, for this player you need to follow this way. And in the group, what I need to correct."

 

Ten months after Mourinho departed, it seems Stamford Bridge will be top of the bill for touchline drama again.

Date created : 2008-07-09

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