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Scolari vows to get Anelka firing at Chelsea

SoccerNews in English Premier League 15 Aug 2008

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Luiz Felipe Scolari admits he must find a way to fire-up temperamental striker Nicolas Anelka if Chelsea are to regain the Premier League title.

Anelka has all the attributes required to be one of the world’s best players but the France international has struggled to fulfil his enormous potential since moving to Stamford Bridge from Bolton in January.

The 29-year-old scored once in 15 appearances for Chelsea last season and frequently looked a disinterested bystander rather than the key figure he should be.

That lethargy was summed up when he missed the penalty that handed Manchester United the Champions League and then complained he shouldn’t have been asked to take a spot-kick because he had only just come on as a substitute.

It was the sort of complaint that has seen the introverted forward nicknamed ‘Le Sulk’ in England.

But Scolari, who takes charge of his first Premier League match against Portsmouth on Sunday, believes Anelka will prove a major asset if he can bring him out of his shell.

“Anelka has looked good in training and will play as centre-forward. He played well in the friendly games but he is quiet,” Scolari said.

“If you say ‘good morning’ to him he will say ‘good morning’ back but if you don’t he won’t say anything because he is quiet.

“We need to put fire in Anelka – tell him ‘look Anelka, you are very good’. Maybe this will be the season for Anelka.”

He added: “I need to work more on his head, on his thinking in the field, because he has good quality.”

Anelka, who was only played out of position on the wing by Grant, will start the season as the focal point of the Chelsea attack with Didier Drogba and Andriy Shevchenko injured.

Scolari would like to pair him with Real Madrid star Robinho, but the former Portugal coach could not shed any light on Chelsea’s bid for the Brazilian.

Chelsea are believed to have tabled a 24 million pounds (30.4 million euros) offer but Real are holding out for 30 million pounds (38 million euros).

“He is a very good player, I like him very much but so do all the other coaches in the world,” Scolari said. “Exactly what is happening with him I don’t know at the moment.

“It is not my business, it is the business for the board to talk about money.

“He is a fantastic player who could play in any team in the world but I am happy with my players at Chelsea. If one or two more players arrive it will be better for us.

“We play 60 or 70 games a year so the door is always open for the players here and maybe one or two more in the future.

“But if we lose against Portsmouth it won’t be because Robinho is not here, it will be because we haven’t played well.”

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