Former Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has revealed a spat with striker Didier Drogba was behind his early exit from Stamford Bridge.
Scolari was sacked by Chelsea in February 2009, merely seven months into a three-year contract with the Blues.
A player revolt against the Brazilian manager was rumoured to have led to his departure, something Scolari was quick to dispel at the time.
But the 62-year-old has confessed in an interview to a troubled relationship with Ivory Coast international Drogba, who was hampered by a knee injury in the 2008-09 season.
”Drogba had a bad knee, and the previous year he had played 12 to 15 games with the help of cortisone injections,” Scolari said.
“I wouldn’t accept that, I did not want it. He had to go through physiotherapy, and he thought he had to get it done in a big clinic in Cannes, in the summer.”
“So the dummy here said ‘no’, and the problems began.”
”To this day I do not believe in this sabotage conspiracy, but I did not know how to handle certain things, or handle it like I do in Brazil.”
Scolari landed at Uzbek club Bunyodkor after leaving Chelsea, and took over at Brazilian side Palmeiras in June last year.
His tenure at Palmeiras is beginning to bear fruit, with the club one point clear on the Campeonato Paulista table and assured of reaching the play-offs.
Asked if he would consider a move back to Europe, Scolari was reticent but would not rule it out altogether.
”I won’t say I won’t go back to Europe, but I think to myself, I am 62, almost 63 years old,” he said.
“Will I have to go back there to a medium sized team to make my name?”
“No, I think I have to stay here in Brazil and find a solution for Palmeiras, which is a team I like.”
”The basis of this group is that the players want an opportunity. They are giving me the chance to show them that opportunities in life are few and far between.”
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