Premier League – Scolari: Chelsea have gambled
Luiz Felipe Scolari admits Chelsea “gambled” by appointing him, but insists he will bring world-class football to Stamford Bridge.
The Brazilian coach was named as Avram Grant’s successor midway through Portugal’s Euro 2008 campaign and despite a glowing CV, which includes victory at the 2002 World Cup with his native country, there were some concerns about his lack of experience in top-level European club football.
Scolari agrees that there was an element of risk in his appointment but has backed himself to deliver the results – and the style – owner Roman Abramovich wants.
“Chelsea gambled on my ability but I believe in myself,” he said. “I had two meetings with the owner Roman Abramovich (before getting the job). He said to me ‘I want Chelsea to play well, beautiful and win’. I said ‘yes, I agree with you’.
“I am not afraid of my job. All over the world coaches need to win competitions, not only in Chelsea.”
Jose Mourinho brought home back-to-back Premier League titles during his stint with the Blues but failed to capture the Champions League, while Grant got to the final of the competition before losing to Manchester United on penalties.
But Scolari denies his focus will be on European success, instead choosing to cast his net wider.
The 59-year-old continued: “My pressure is the desire to become world-class, not just to win the Champions League.
“If I say to my players that the Champions League is more important than another competition, I think the players might only prepare for the Champions League. I don’t think that’s the correct way to look at it.
“I need to prepare my players for the Carling Cup, the FA Cup, for the Champions League, for the Premier League.
“If I say to my players all competitions are important for Chelsea, then I think that is the way.”
Scolari also sought to clarify his position with Abramovich, insisting he has full control of all on-field decisions.
“I also told him that when it comes to the pitch it is all mine, no-one interferes. He was happy with that.”