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The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
Luiz Felipe Scolari is all too aware of the ramifications of failure at Chelsea. High expectations and high expenditure means a low tolerance for poor results.

"Now we need to beat Cluj," he said after drawing with Bordeaux on Wednesday night. "But if I thought my players did not have the quality to beat them at home, then it is better I go back to Brazil and stay there."

These are strange times for Chelsea. For so long the aristocrats of the Premier League, the London side are now in the humiliating position of having to cut their spending. Even Roman Abramovich isn't immune to the credit crunch. Last month, two thirds of the scouting team were laid off and there are rumours that Frank Arnesen, the highly paid Head of Development will be following them in New Year. Other stories suggest that there won't be any transfer money available, something that Scolari attempted to brush away after thrashing Sunderland on November 1.

"I think all the clubs in the world will not spend as much as they spent before," he said then. "The situation in the world is different to six months ago. The players need to be thinking about this and the clubs need to be thinking about this."

Quite what he thinks about player recruitment now, after watching his misfiring team toil away against Bordeaux, is anyone's guess. Scolari was furious with his players at half-time when they returned to the dressing room without mustering even a single shot at goal, and he wasn't best pleased at the end by Bordeaux's sloppy equaliser.

"It was a bad goal for us," he growled. "We work on this in training, and it is the first time in my period as Chelsea coach that we have conceded a goal from a corner.
"The players did not relax. They respected the other team. But we made a mistake. We knew who should be marking the player and who should mark the ball."

Chelsea have been hit hard by repeated injuries to Ricardo Carvalho whose pace compliments John Terry's aerial superiority. Terry always gets the plaudits but, more often than not, it is Carvalho who saves the day. Branislav Ivanovic, finally in the team after months in the reserves, looks an interesting player but he needs more time to settle in and adapt.

Scolari will barely have time to pack his suitcases if FC Cluj come to Stamford Bridge and win. The Transylvanians did it to Roma at the Stadio Olimpico and they are not to be underestimated. Defeat would be a disaster for a club who owe around SG$2.4bn to their owner, especially as he seems to be getting twitchy about his investment.

With their erratic form and enormous injury list, Arsenal might seem like the ideal opponents for Chelsea on Sunday, but that's exactly what Manchester United thought when they travelled to The Emirates. Two draws in two games is no crisis, but a defeat this weekend will see Scolari facing some rather awkward questions from his bosses.

BRAINS OF THE OPERATION - With a red card and a substandard performance, there's not much for Frank Lampard to be proud of, but his first-time through-ball to Nicolas Anelka for the opening goal was genius. They'll miss him against Cluj.

TANTRUM - You didn't need the pitch-side microphones to hear what Luiz Felipe Scolari made of this. The fiery Brazilian almost out-shouted 34,000 Frenchmen, he was so angry. This is not what he signed up for.

CLUELESS - What on earth was going on at the back when Alou Diarra headed home Bordeaux's equaliser? Chelsea's markers stood still, no-one picked up the Liverpool reject and he had the freedom of the penalty area to use to his advantage. Awful stuff.

PUNTERS RANT - If you'd backed Chelsea to secure their place in the next round, then this would not have made for pleasant viewing. Who to direct the blame at though? Scolari or the players? I'd go for the players, particularly the frustrating Florent Malouda.

MAN OF THE MATCH - Yoann Gourcuff was a subdued figure at Stamford Bridge, but he really impressed here. Light on his feet and masterful with the ball, he caused serious problems for Chelsea, especially when he turned John Obi Mikel inside out and crashed a shot at Petr Cech. Quite a player.


Crowd: 34,307
Yellow cards: Gourcouff, Jurietti, Chamakh, (Bordeaux) Terry, Lampard, Cole A, Cole J (Chelsea)
Red cards: Lampard (Chelsea)
Mathieu Valverde 6, Alou Diarra 7, Fernando 7, Franck Jurietti 7, Yoan Gouffran 7 (Fernando Cavenaghi 6, 66th), Yoann Gourcuff 8, Souleymane Diawara 7, Wendel 6 (Gabriel Obertan 6, 75th), Mattheiu Chalme 7, Marc Planus 7, Marouane Chamakh 6
Chelsea:Petr Cech 7, Ashley Cole 5, Jose Bosingwa 5, John Terry 5, Branislav Ivanovic 5, John Obi Mikel 6, Frank Lampard 6, Michael Ballack 5, Florent Malouda 5, Joe Cole 6 (Paulo Ferreira 6, 85th), Nicolas Anelka 6 (Didier Drogba 6, 60th)