Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

We needed Robinho at Chelsea, says Scolari

Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari

Luiz Felipe Scolari gave a shattering verdict on his Chelsea squad just five days before he was sacked, with the Brazilian World Cup-winning coach admitting that there were no special players in his side and that he was running out of options to save the season.

Scolari said he had lost faith in Didier Drogba, that Florent Malouda was ineffective and that he did not even have the right players to field a 4-4-2 formation.

In an interview with France Football magazine published today, Scolari says that he had no relationship with his players beyond the training ground and complained that, having missed out on the signing of Robinho, he did not have any creative players in his side. Speaking on Thursday last week before his final game in charge, the 0-0 draw with Hull City on Saturday, he also said that he did not have enough coaching time with his players.

Given that Scolari, who was sacked on Monday, has a confidentiality agreement in his £7.5m pay-off, the interview, is likely to be the last given by the Brazilian on how his Chelsea career fell apart in the space of seven months.

The frankness of Scolari's criticism of Chelsea suggests that he knew before his last weekend as manager that he would be sacked by the club's owner, Roman Abramovich.

Scolari said that without the flair of Robinho (left) , for whom Manchester City outbid Chelsea on transfer deadline day in September, Chelsea were a predictable team.

"At Chelsea we don't have the player who can make the difference by himself by producing something magical on the pitch," he said.

"We miss that. I don't know why. In the past, [Arjen] Robben was at Chelsea and he could make the difference. But now there is no one.

"Robinho could have been this player. He is not afraid to dribble, to take a risk. As a Brazilian, I like this. My team isn't Brazilian enough. It is a ‘bureaucratic’ team.

“That's the style of my players. That's why Robinho would have done a lot of good for the team."

Asked why he did not regularly play Nicolas Anelka and Drogba in the same side, Scolari said he did not have the necessary players for a 4-4-2 system:

"I don't have those players, so I have to adapt. With my squad it's very difficult to play with Drogba and Anelka up front. I don't have the players to play on the wings in that system. [Salomon] Kalou can play on the wing in a 4-3-3, but not in a 4-4-2 because he doesn't defend well enough.

"With Anelka and Drogba at the front, who would play on the left? And in the middle? If we played 4-4-2 we would lose the battle in midfield. So, I have to choose between Anelka and Drogba.

“And Drogba lacks a lot of confidence at the moment. After two or three big injuries, he is missing something. Drogba doesn't have enough confidence, so I choose Anelka."

Drogba's nadir came in a dreadful performance against Manchester United in the 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford on 11 January, after which Scolari left him out of two squads as punishment.

The performances of Malouda, a £14m signing from Lyons in 2007, were of equal concern to Scolari, who was damning in his verdict of the Frenchman since his move to the Premier League.

"Malouda, at Chelsea, isn't the Malouda from Lyons," Scolari said. "He is OK, but he isn't the same that he was with Lyons. He doesn't make the difference in games any longer."

Scolari said that he missed the close bonds he had with the players in his Portugal national team.

"There are egos in the dressing room, but that is normal, isn't it? We all have egos," Scolari said.

"But my relationships with the players are good on the pitch.

“It is true that they are not the same as the relationships I had with my players in Portugal, but I spent five years there.

"In Brazil [as a club manager], it was also easier. I knew everything.”

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