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Why Scolari is certainly not another Mourinho

There is a joke in Portuguese football that the differences between Luiz Felipe Scolari and Jose Mourinho are symbolised by their shaving habits.

Big Phil has an unapologetic tea-strainer of a moustache, the archetypal conservative look among Portuguese men of a certain generation and rural Brazilians from the south of that country. Mourinho is a clean-shaven modern European who speaks four languages fluently and doesn't mind letting his hair grow to the kind of length Scolari would consider unacceptable.

What they are really saying is that the Chelsea manager past and Chelsea manager future may come from the same kind of football culture, they may both be part of the great Portuguese-based invasion of English football but they are two entirely different managers, both in character and approach. With the old-school moustache and the bow-legged rolling gait of a battle-worn former pro, Scolari has made his name by speaking to the hearts of his players. Mourinho prefers to speak to his players' minds.

Chelsea have certainly made good on their promise to appoint a man of substance, someone unafraid to give orders and be tough with the wealthy young men who play for the club. And he will evidently offer a stark contrast to the dithering of the Avram Grant period. But it is the contrast he will offer to Mourinho, the most successful manager in Chelsea history, that is the most fascinating. If they want innovation at Stamford Bridge the locals may be disappointed; if they want passion, energy and touchline histrionics then Scolari is the man and if it delivers the Champions League, Roman Abramovich will not mind how he does it.

Which is not to say that Mourinho does not like to be popular with his players – indeed that was a cornerstone of his success with Chelsea until the wheels came off in the final few weeks of his time there. Equally Scolari will not want to lose any popularity contests and there are likely to be a couple of those this summer. The two old adversaries, who clashed when Mourinho was Porto manager, are likely to come head-to-head later over players they both hope will be loyal to them, principally Deco, who Barcelona are prepared to sell, and also Ricardo Carvalho, who is a prime target for Mourinho at Internazionale. For those Chelsea players who know both managers, the decision will be between playing for two men with very different styles.

In his days as a middling central defender in the Sixties and Seventies, playing in Brazilian clubs of varying status but never the very best, Scolari learned an approach to management that has seen him thrive in many different countries. His way is to offer his players leadership, to give them clearly defined rules and make it evident who is inside and who is outside his camp. Having established that at the clubs and teams he has managed, this very average footballer has fashioned an astonishingly successful management career, winning a World Cup, primarily from forging a strong team spirit and urging his players to greater heights.

He is not, as Mourinho is often referred to as, a laptop manager. There will not be DVDs or performance dossiers for his players to watch in preparation. This is not a man who likes to spend the hours discussing 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 with his coaching staff – in fact as Portugal manager he has busied himself with sponsors and speaking engagements that his success has brought him. In his first game in charge of the Portugal team – a defeat to Italy on 2 December, 2003 – he picked a 3-5-2 formation that was his preference with the Brazilian and Middle Eastern teams he had coached until then. It was considered a failure, quietly dropped and since then he has stuck with the European formations his players feel more comfortable with.

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Ask most Portuguese what they remember as the most memorable aspect of Scolari's five years in the country outside of the achievements on the pitch and they are likely to mention the flags. Before they hosted Euro 2004, Scolari appealed to the people of Portugal to demonstrate their patriotism by hanging the national flag in the windows of their houses and apartments. They responded on a huge scale and since then the Portuguese flag in the window is a nationwide tradition every time there is an international tournament.

The simple, straight-talking guy from the "Gaucho" region of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil would not have any truck with Mourinho. Not for him the trendy loafers, the man bags and the metrosexual image fostered by the Portuguese coach.

The same goes for Scolari's coaching staff. Mourinho had some tough guys around him at Chelsea – his goalkeeping coach Silvinho Louro and the Brazilian Baltemar Brito – but his protégées were the university graduates Rui Faria and Andre Villas Boas. They were the brains of the operation and while they liked to call it on with opposition benches, they never looked like they really wanted a scrap. The same could not be said for Scolari's No 2 Flavio "Murtosa" Teixeira, another moustachioed Gaucho native who looks like a cross between Graham Gooch and a Mexican cowherd. Murtosa has loyally followed his boss to his most exotic coaching jobs in Saudi Arabia, Japan and Kuwait along with Darlan Schneider, the fitness coach and Scolari's nephew.

In what can only be likened to a Portuguese version of West Side Story, there was once a fabled crossing of paths between Mourinho's staff and Scolari's staff at Lisbon airport at which Murtosa and Brito are understood to have had a full and frank exchange of views.

Scolari and Mourinho do not get along, a dispute that is usually traced back to the former's perceived bias against Porto players when Mourinho was manager there. In reality it was that Portugal was simply not big enough for both their egos as they accumulated stunning successes in the early part of the decade. Scolari's 2002 World Cup triumph made him one of the most highly-prized coaches in the world. Mourinho won the Uefa Cup with Porto just months before Scolari took the Portugal job in late 2003, then further upstaged him the following May by winning the Champions League.

The controversy over Scolari choosing not to pick certain Porto players at Euro 2004 did, however, demonstrate his pragmatism as a coach: he changed his mind immediately after losing to Greece in the first group game. He had selected some of Mourinho's Porto players, such as Paulo Ferreira, Costinha and Maniche against Greece but most crucially he had selected the veterans Fernando Couto and Rui Costa ahead of the emergent Carvalho and Deco. For the second game against Russia that decision was reversed and Portugal went all the way to the final.

In Portugal, Scolari – like Mourinho – is regarded as a lucky coach. The decision to bring on the unfancied Helder Postiga as a substitute against England in the quarter-finals of Euro 2004 who then went on to score an equaliser before eventually Portugal won the game on penalties is often cited in evidence. Scolari talks a lot about his Catholic religion, and is devoted to the cult of Our Lady of Caravaggio in his native Rio Grande do Sul. There is only one person Mourinho worships and he tends to appear to him every morning in the shaving mirror.

Scolari is descended from the Italian immigrants who left for Brazil at the beginning of the 20th century, hence the Italian passport. His grandfather Luigi moved from Cologna Veneta in northern Italy and he visited the town after the 2002 World Cup finals.

But in terms of his football influences, Scolari is often considered more Argentine than Brazilian – the country is a greater influence on the part of Brazil from which he comes than the major Brazilian cities further north. He is said to have many of the characteristics of the "Gaucho" including being pao duro which is literally translated as stale bread but means he is tight when it comes to money. Not that money is any longer a concern for this particular "Gaucho".

Roads to success The times and travels of Luiz Felipe Scolari

Born Passo Fundo, Brazil, 9 November, 1948

*Playing career (all Brazil)

1966-68 Internacional Porto Alegre

1968-73 Aimorae (including spell at Guarami, 1969)

1973-79 Caixas

1979 Novo Hamburgo

1979-81 Juventude

1981-82 CSA Alagoas

*Coaching career (Brazil unless specified)

1982 CSA Alagoas

1982-83 Juventude

1983-86 Pelotas

1984-85 Al Shabab (UAE)

1986-87 Juventude

1987 Gremio

1988 Goias

1988-90 Al Qadsia (Kuwait)

1990 Kuwait

1991 Criciuma

1991 Al Ahli (Saudi Arabia)

1992 Al Qadsia (Kuwait)

1993-96 Gremio

1997 Jubilo Iwata (Japan)

1997-00 Palmeiras

2000-01 Cruzeiro

2001-02 Brazil



08- Chelsea


Gaucho Championship 87, 95, 96; Kuwait Cup 90; Gulf Cup 90; Brazil Cup 91, 94, 98; Copa Libertadores 95, 99; Brazil Championship 96; South America Super Cup 96;

Mercosur Cup 98; Rio-Sao Paulo tournament 00;

World Cup 02 (left)

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