x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Scolari is winning hearts and minds

Chelsea have another chance to show off their new expansive style tonight when AS Roma visit Stamford Bridge in the Champions League.

LONDON // Chelsea have another chance to show off their new expansive style tonight when AS Roma visit Stamford Bridge in the Champions League. In the short time that Luiz Felipe Scolari has been in charge, the Brazilian has gone a long way to doing what both his predecessors failed at - which is to win over the neutrals. Gone is the siege mentality adopted by Jose Mourinho while the dour and brief Avram Grant era is a fast fading memory.

Scolari has been charm personified since taking one of the toughest jobs in British football and his side, flying at the top of the English Premier League, are playing with a smile rather than ruthless efficiency. The 5-0 victory at Middlesbrough on Saturday was a master class in passing and movement that sent alarm bells ringing around the country. Midfielder Frank Lampard said it was the best performance for a long time, while skipper John Terry spoke of the different philosophy that Scolari has brought to west London.

"In the first two years after Jose Mourinho took over we had a strong mentality where we'd go to places and shut up shop to get the three points," Terry said in the Daily Telegraph. "Now we're eager to really push on and get that second goal and kill the game. It's very enjoyable to play under him." Roma are still smarting from a 4-0 thumping by Inter Milan at the weekend but a long injury list is beginning to clear for last season's Serie A runners-up, with striker Francesco Totti back after knee surgery.

"Chelsea are strong but we can put this nasty defeat behind us. We must show everyone our real worth. This Roma is too ugly to be true," captain Totti said. * Reuters