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Premier League Grinds Scolari Down In Seven Months

  • Guardian, Tuesday, February 10, 2009 3:01 PM
Luiz Felipe Scolari "was on the way to acquiring the full thousand-yard stare that only the special branch of bedlam known as the Premier League can inflict on managers, however illustrious, however crocodile-skinned on first inspection," writes Paul Hayward. Despite arriving well briefed and determined to instill unity and calm at Chelsea last summer, "the whirlwind of fixtures, the endless churn of headlines, the crowd volatility, the sheer relentlessness of problem-solving at the top of the English game" took its toll on the man who lead Brazil to the 2002 World Cup.
Scolari's vision had been to try and take the team to a new level. "The Chelsea hierarchy assumed Brazilian self-expression could be welded onto the old defensive solidity to form an unbeatable whole. The league champions of 2005 and 2006 would start playing like Manchester United and Arsenal, and [Chelsea owner Roman] Abramovich, the absentee landlord, would be enticed back from the art galleries to which his new love had lured him."
But although heavy beatings were administered in attacking style to teams like Middlesbrough and Sunderland, home defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal, not to mention a 3-0 loss at Manchester United, placed Scolari "in the same burning boat as Tony Adams, a veteran of 16 league matches at Portsmouth and sacked on the same day. Intense and sober novices, kings of the football world: the Premier League can dispense with both on a rainy day in February."

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