Scolari promises ‘beautiful’ game

CHELSEA coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has promised the club’s fans more “beautiful” football against Roma in the Champions League tonight.

The Blues take on the Italians at Stamford Bridge in the third round of matches knowing victory will edge them closer to the knockout phase of the competition.

Deco, Petr Cech and Joe Cole could all return to the first-team line-up against the Italians, and Scolari is intent on reproducing the kind of attacking football that has wooed fans this term.

“I enjoy watching my team but I am more happy when we win,” said Scolari. “It’s a pleasure, not only for me, but for the players that people like Chelsea football.

“We play beautiful football. But if we need three points in every game, sometimes it is impossible to play beautiful football.

“You will see a beautiful game against Roma because they play like Chelsea.”

The inclusion of captain John Terry in their 5-0 win over Middlesbrough at the weekend is still the subject of some scrutiny.

The defender missed England’s two World Cup qualifying games against Kazakhstan and Belarus because of a back injury, which managed to clear up in time to play only days later at the Riverside.

But Scolari is adamant there was no skullduggery involved in Terry’s inclusion.

The Brazilian coach also rejected suggestions Terry’s problem might ultimately require surgery to alleviate it for good.

“He might have more specific exercises for this problem but I do not think it requires surgery,” said Scolari.

“He was not fit enough to play for the national team but after a period of rest he could play.

“John has played in 14 games for Chelsea and four for the national team. He has missed one or two games this season so far and that is normal.”

It is an important week for Scolari as, following the Roma clash, his Chelsea team face Liverpool at home on Sunday afternoon.

Liverpool are the only other unbeaten team in the Premier League but Scolari admits he cannot afford to think too far ahead and has instructed his players to follow suit.

“We are thinking only of Roma,” said Scolari. “It is more important for the players to think about this game.

“Then, afterwards, we can work on the Liverpool game on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

“We need to win tomorrow to qualify. If we win, we’ll have 50% or 70% of the qualification achieved.”

Chelsea are hoping Petr Cech and Joe Cole will return from injury while Scolari welcomes back centre-half Ricardo Carvalho after a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury.

However, the Brazilian coach remains without striker Didier Drogba (knee and ankle), Ashley Cole (hamstring) and Michael Ballack (foot surgery).

Meanwhile Roma coach Luciano Spalletti is determined to lead Roma out of their biggest crisis in four years.

The Serie A giants are in the midst of domestic and European turmoil that has already sparked questions over Spalletti’s leadership.

However, Spalletti is convinced he can turn their fortunes around.

“The players remain calm in the dressing room,” said Spalletti. “The players appreciate the qualities they have and the difficulties we are having to face.”

Spalletti has received a timely boost by the return to fitness of Roma legend Francesco Totti.

Said Totti: “The problems are the results. But we have to maintain the right attitude. It is up to us to solve these problems.”


A whiff of new normality is in the air, writes Des O'SullivanAntiques: How to put a post-lockdown world in the frame

Another week, another fiendishly fun test of your arts and showbiz knowledge from Irish Examiner Arts Editor Des O'DriscollScene & Heard: Fun culture quiz

The story of how the Cork-based executive head chef faced her “demons” and turned around her life just before her 30th birthday.This is me: Trisha Lewis transforms her body and mindset

A star-studded finale from the Late Late Show and a classic Brazil v France encounter feature among today's top tips.Friday's TV Highlights: A star-studded finale from the Late Late Show and a classic Brazil v France encounter

More From The Irish Examiner