Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has warned Sunderland boss Roy Keane that he will be out for revenge at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Scolari is still haunted by the painful memory of Keane’s winning goal for Manchester United against his Palmeiras team in the World Club Championship in Tokyo in 1999.
The Brazilian was desperate for a first victory in the annual clash between the champions of Europe and South America, but Keane left him empty-handed and now he has a chance to make amends when the Black Cats visit west London this weekend.
“Keane was a fantastic player but he killed me one time when Manchester United played against Palmeiras in Tokyo,” Scolari said.
“I remember this very well. (Ryan) Giggs crossed and Keane scored the goal at the far post. It is in my mind. Maybe on Saturday I have a chance to win a game against Keane.”
Although Scolari is determined to make Keane pay for that defeat in Japan, he is a firm admirer of his counterpart’s managerial skills and expects him to be a thorn in his side on Saturday.
“He worked with many coaches and they gave good lessons for him. He is intelligent and has a good future,” Scolari said.
“It will be the same as the other clubs. They will come here and be tight at the back. They will make many counter-attacks and they have good players for this.
“We might have only three or four opportunities maximum and if we don’t get one goal it will be difficult.”
After the disappointment of losing their 86-match unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge against Liverpool last weekend, Chelsea bounced back with an emphatic win at Hull in midweek.
Scolari has studied the number of points amassed by Manchester United and Chelsea during their title triumphs over the last five seasons and believes his side are on course to meet the total required to be kings of English football.
Scolari won’t divulge the target but he admitted Chelsea’s tally of 23 points from their first 10 matches is just one point short of his desired total at this stage.
“I’m happy because we played seven or eight games very well. In my opinion we are only one point different from what I thought we would have,” Scolari said.
“I thought we would have 24 and we have 23 but I am happy with my players because they try to do their best in every game.
“I have the statistics of the last five championships in England. I have a number of points and I follow this because it is my first time in England. I know the number and the players know the number.”
Chelsea trail leaders Liverpool by three points but Scolari has warned Anfield boss Rafa Benitez that it won’t be a two-horse race for the title.
“I don’t think it’s just us and Liverpool. Manchester United, Arsenal, Aston Villa (will be involved),” he said.
“Villa are only three points behind us. After 30 games we will see but before no. One day we lost two points, then another club will lose two points.”
Scolari is boosted by Didier Drogba’s return to the squad after a month out with a knee injury.
The Ivory Coast striker is likely to be on the bench, while Joe Cole should be fit despite limping off at Hull.
Ricardo Carvalho is sidelined for a month after suffering a hamstring injury against the Tigers.