Monday, January 24, 2022

Scolari makes his intentions clear. Chelsea for the quadruple.

New Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari is setting his sights high as he says he believes Chelsea can win the quadruple in his first season as manager at Stamford Bridge.

The fifty-nine year old Brazilian has said his squad is strong enough to challenge for the Premier League, the FA Cup, Carling Cup and Champions League.

“We have four competitions this season and I’ll try to win all four,” he said.

“It will be very difficult but we have the team for it, we have the players for it. Chelsea have also given me everything I have wanted.”

Chelsea are still licking their wounds after finishing second to Manchester United in the Premier League and Champions League and losing to Tottenham in the Carling Cup final last season. That’s without mentioning the FA Cup defeat at Championship strugglers Barnsley.

Scolari’s men have had a 4-0 win and a 7-0 win on their tour of Asia and Scolari says that he has seen enough of his players to have a fair idea about his likely best eleven.

“I know who my key players are,” confirmed Scolari. “I have had 15 days with them and I know who is important for us to play more games than other players. You need to build a team around a few players in essential positions for important games and I now know who they are. I have in my mind one idea for the team to play against Portsmouth but until then I want to see how the players train. I have a minimum of 75% of the team in my mind but I need to know the other 25%.”

After their final friendly game on tour Chelsea will heading to the Luzhniki Stadium for a match against Lokomotiv Moscow. The Blues will be looking to quickly bury some rather unpleasant ghosts. The Luzhniki Stadium was the venue for last season’s Champions League final penalty shoot-out defeat to Manchester United.

Captain John Terry, who has more to exorcise than most as he missed what would have been the winning kick in the penalty shoot-out defeat , agreed that returning to the Russian capital would be “weird” but wanted to talk more about the prospects for the coming season.

The defender said:

“We have made some great signings. With players like Deco and Jose Bosingwa coming to the club, there’s no point me thinking, ‘Oh, I could have won the Champions League that year’ when I’m 35 or 40. I still have some great years ahead of me. With the manager we have, I have still got a great possibility of winning it. It’s down to myself to drive this team forward again and push to get to where we were last season and further. We showed great strength of character with all the disappointments we had last season, with the changes in manager. We showed what a great team we are.”

In a scarcely veiled criticism of last season‘s manager Avram Grant, Terry added, “Now we have a manager who can lead the team as well.”

Chelsea have added the two top rate signings to what was nearly a history making squad from last season. At this stage they have managed to keep hold of Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba. Things are looking pretty good for the men from Stamford Bridge.

Whether they can win the quadruple or not is another matter entirely. In fact, there is an arguable case to say that nobody could ever win the quadruple. It looks to me at this stage of the pre-season that Chelsea have as good a chance as anyone of proving that argument to be a flawed one.

Scolari knows that he must win something in his first season. He knows that Avram Grant came really close to success but was still shown the door. He will genuinely believe that he can win more than one thing. He might actually just genuinely believe that he can win all four.

Sir Alex Ferguson says that they are an old team, but a look at the ages of the players shows that to be a fallacy.

A first team squad of Cech, Bosingwa, A Cole, Terry, Carvalho, Essien, Ballack, Lampard, Deco, Drogba, Wright-Phillips, Kalou, Mikel and J Cole shows that Ballack is the eldest at thirty-one. Only Carvalho, Lampard, Deco and Drogba join Ballack at thirty. The average age works out at 26.8 years.

To me, that looks a squad in its prime, not a squad that is too old and can’t improve.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Graham Fisher


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