Saturday, November 22, 2008

Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari underlines squad importance

The Brazilian was adamant that he would not discuss the situation at Arsenal, yet was happy to outline the "very, very good atmosphere every day" at Chelsea, a quality he considers fundamental to the team's success.

"If you don't have a good atmosphere you will start the game in bad condition," he said. "I think [it's importance to the club is] 50 per cent minimum. If you are happy, your job is fantastic. We created that atmosphere and after this, it is easy."

Chelsea captain John Terry was openly critical of the team following the recent defeat against Roma but, unlike Gallas, there was an emphasis on collective responsibility rather than any individual incident. Scolari says that he encourages his players to speak frankly, whether exchanging positive or negative views. "John Terry may be critical because he is more angry than other players," he said. "But, in the dressing room, all of the players are critical. The players respect my level and I respect the players. We have lines.

"We talk – I understand, the player understands, the board understands, we finish the problem. They are very professional and I like this so much. My authority is the normal authority. Sometimes I am a friend, a father and sometimes I am a coach. Sometimes, as a coach, I need to say 'you are wrong'."

Scolari's man-management has extended to his supportive handling of Dider Drogba following the coin-throwing incident that has resulted in a three-match Football Association ban that will rule him out of today's game against Newcastle.

It is also understood that he has been fined two weeks' wages for the lapse in discipline, but Scolari said: "Didier did not go to the pitch with the coin, Didier is not the man that started it."

Scolari also expressed his hope that Michael Ballack will extend his contract beyond next season. "He is young and plays very well, if he wants, I want and if Chelsea have a deal it's fantastic," he said.

Although top of the league, Chelsea are one point adrift of Scolari's "85 per cent" ratio that he regards as necessary to be sure of winning the Premier League. It is a standard that would result in a record-breaking haul at the end of the season of 97 points.

Although Drogba is suspended, Scolari is likely to welcome back Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Joe Cole to his squad after the England trio all missed the 2-1 win against Germany on Wednesday. Petr Cech is available again, while Alex could also return.

No comments: