Luiz Felipe Scolari admits Chelsea "gambled" by making him their new manager, but insists he will strive to repay the club.
I'm a gamble admits Scolari
LONDON // Luiz Felipe Scolari admits Chelsea "gambled" by making him their new manager, but insists he will strive to repay the club by bringing world-class football to Stamford Bridge. The Brazilian coach was named as Avram Grant's successor midway through his Portugal side's Euro 2008 campaign and despite a glowing CV, which includes victory at the 2002 World Cup with his native country, there were some concerns about his lack of experience in top-level European club football.
Scolari agrees that there was an element of risk in his appointment but has backed himself to deliver the results - and the style owner Roman Abramovich wants. "Chelsea gambled on my ability but I believe in myself," he said. "I had two meetings with the owner Roman Abramovich (before getting the job). He said to me 'I want Chelsea to play well, beautiful and win'. I said 'yes, I agree with you'. "I am not afraid of my job. All over the world coaches need to win competitions, not only in Chelsea."
Jose Mourinho brought home back-to-back Premier League titles during his stint with the Blues but failed to capture the Champions League, while Grant got to the final of the competition before losing to Manchester United on penalties. But Scolari denies his focus will be on European success, instead choosing to cast his net wider. "My pressure is the desire to become world-class, not just to win the Champions League," said Scolari, 59.
"If I say to my players that the Champions League is more important than another competition, I think the players might only prepare for the Champions League. I don't think that's the correct way to look at it. "I need to prepare my players for the Carling Cup, the FA Cup, for the Champions League, for the Premier League. If I say to my players all competitions are important for Chelsea, then I think that is the way."
Scolari also sought to clarify his position with Abramovich, insisting he has full control of all on-field decisions. "I also told him that when it comes to the pitch it is all mine, no-one interferes. He was happy with that." Meanwhile, Manchester United are in no hurry to replace the man who succeeded Scolari. With less than five weeks to the start of the Premier League season, Carlos Queiroz left Old Trafford to take the job of coaching his native Portugal. "You take your time with these things," said Ferguson.
"I knew when Portugal came for him that it would be very difficult for us. But we've good staff and we'll carry on." The current United coaches Mike Phelan, Brian McClair and Rene Meulensteen are among the names said to be in the frame for the post, along with the likes of former Reds defender Laurent Blanc. "It's always disappointing to lose good men and Carlos was a good man," added Ferguson. "He was honest, very loyal to me and a good coach, who brought a lot of initiatives that we now carry on.
"He has taken a challenge on that people do, if they have that patriotic passion and the nationalist fervour to go and manage their country. He's got that." The Liverpool defender Daniel Agger, 23, believes he has got to start his Liverpool career all over again after almost 10 months of injury anguish. Agger cost £5.8million (Dh48m) from Brondby in 2006, and became Jamie Carragher's new defensive partner before suffering a serious metatarsal injury.
Agger will continue to work his way back to full match fitness at Liverpool's Swiss training camp and said: "I am delighted to be back, this has been the most frustrating time of my career "This season ahead is now all-important to me. I have missed so much football over the past year that I feel I am almost starting my career at Liverpool all over again." His manager Rafa Benitez is still hoping to complete a deal for Gareth Barry deal soon - Liverpool's chief executive Rick Parry has had direct talks with Aston Villa's American owner Randy Learner,despite Villa boss Martin O'Neill saying Liverpool have yet to improve their £15m offer.
Benitez is steadily raising cash for his targets, which include the Tottenham skipper and striker Robbie Keane. * Agencies