Scolari Watch – Chelsea finally have a top manager

From the outside Chelsea’s efforts to find a new manager over the last few weeks appear to have been conducted in their usual clumsy fashion — with Peter Kenyon running the ship what else did we expect — but there can be no doubt in my opinion that they have landed a top quality replacement for Avram Grant in the shape of Luiz Felipe Scolari. He’s one hell of an improvement isn’t he?!

Scolari’s record with a Portugal side that’s not blessed with any more than four or five top international players in recent tournaments has been magnificent — and before that of course he won the World Cup with a Brazilian team that couldn’t have laced the boots of previous Brazil sides that had failed to land the big one. Club football was previously a successful field for Scolari, who picked up all of the major domestic prizes and the Copa Libertadores (twice) with two different Brazilian clubs.

Carlo Ancelotti may have been Abramovich’s first choice but it’s still difficult to argue that the Blues haven’t acquired the best man for the job. He even deploys Chelsea’s 4-3-3 system for Portugal so they won’t even have to alter their formation.

There are only two negatives; 1) He’s never managed a European club before 2) He can’t speak a word of English

Are these factors going to make any difference? I see it like this…..

The fact that he’s never managed in European club football is not going to hinder Chelsea in my view. He’s seen more than enough of the Champions League and Premier League to know what it’s all about. He’s a proven manager and will adapt quickly I believe. The players know what to do. All he has to do is coach, motivate and organise them. You can do that anywhere in the world if you are good at your job — and he is.

The language barrier could be more of a problem in the early weeks as the players adjust to having a new translator and the likes of John Terry and Joe Cole won’t enjoy not being able to have normal conversations with him. That said, the Chelsea players will be busting a gut to impress him in the early days, so I can’t foresee too may issues with it. The fear factor and sheer desire to be a Scolari favourite should make the players highly motivated and override any translation difficulties.

So all in all I think Chelsea have made a wise choice. Big Phil has all the credentials in place to succeed in the major trophy department where poor old Avram failed.

There is just one thing playing on my mind however. Will he be able to handle any interference from a certain Mr Abramovich……?

Originally published on

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