Belfast Telegraph

Scolari's one-eyed view from Chelsea dugout carries echoes of Mourinho

Luiz Felipe Scolari has enhanced several aspects about Chelsea but not the one-eyed view from the dug-out.

In a verdict on yesterday's match which Jose Mourinho would have approved of he claimed: "They did not play better than us but they shot one ball better and they won. In the first half we dominated the game. In the second we had more possession but we crossed many balls."

Only the last part of the statement was accurate and Scolari was clearly angry at his team resorting to the high ball when faced by such a well-organised defence. "Rafael Benitez is intelligent," added Scolari. "He knows and I know that we don't have a 2m centre-forward, so they gave us space, but when we crossed they have players who are very good at winning the ball.

"I don't like to lose, but if we lose we need to touch the ball, not put the ball in the box every time. We were running out of time and the players did not have the confidence to pass the ball. I tried to tell them to play, but they didn't listen."

Scolari, who has lost in his fifth home league game, after a four-year period in which neither Mourinho nor Avram Grant lost at home, added: "The problem for me is losing three points, [not the unbeaten record]. It is still three points whether we lose here or in Liverpool. We've lost three points, and if all the results are normal we have an opportunity to be level when we play in Liverpool. The fans, the players and me have to understand that these are the players I have at this moment. I need to give confidence to these players. Maybe in the future I'll have one, two or three players back from injury, but these are the players I have at the moment."

Of the absentees Scolari said Joe Cole could be back to play at Hull on Wednesday but Didier Drogba and Michael Ballack were at least 10 days from fitness.

Benitez was delighted, but tried not to show it. "We're in a good position and we will try to keep going," he said. "We have the quality and the mentality to fight against the top sides but to win here was a really difficult thing to do. To do so sends a massive message to the other teams of what we can do and tells our fans what we are about."

This was Liverpool's first win away to one of the other big four sides under Benitez and he added: "Everyone was talking before about the statistics against the top sides. We knew that we needed to improve. They were unbeaten here for a long time so to come here with the mentality, showing the character the players showed, is a big boost for the rest of the season."

Jamie Carragher concurred. He said: "There's a long way to go but, psychologically, it should give us a big lift."

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