LONDON // It may be regarded as a new chapter for Chelsea, but there still seems to be an air of familiarity at Stamford Bridge. Luiz Felipe Scolari took over as coach yesterday as the owner Roman Abramovich marked his fifth anniversary since taking charge.Deco, the Portuguese playmaker, signed on too from Barcelona for £7 million (Dh 25m), and it was he who outlined Chelsea's targets.
He said: "I am sure I have come at the right time to do great things and be able to help Chelsea go back to the way it was and come back to being the first one, not only in England, but also to win the Champions League." So the Premier League and Champions League remain the target. No pressure there then. But, armed with a hefty budget, Scolari will try to mould a team to challenge. Robinho looks to be on his way too as talks have advanced with the Real Madrid striker.
With the pacy full-back Jose Bosingwa already on board, Deco is the second Portuguese international to join his former coach. He added: "I know I need a little bit of time to adapt, but I am sure I will adapt quite well and quite fast and do my best for the team." As for Abramovich, he will only want players who want to help the club excite and fight for the big prizes. Despite two Premier League titles, it has not given him the satisfaction or the Champions League title he craves.
He will give Scolari his support, but will he have finally learned to work better with his managers? Claudio Ranieri, Mourinho and Avram Grant have come and gone amid problems with the Russian, whose interference was highlighted as a factor in their departures. Scolari will be warned that results count and are important. Abramovich demands success and Deco's statement of intent will be what he wants to hear.