Phil Scolari Believes Argument With Nicolas Anelka Led To His Sacking
When Chelsea appointed Big Phil Scolari as manager no one could have predicted that he wouldn't even last till the end of the season. Years after that episode the Brazilian has revealed it was all down to Nicolas Anelka.
After Jose Mourinho left Stamford Bridge in September 2007, after three years in charge of Chelsea, it would take Jose Mourinho's return till someone was manager for longer than two years.
The Special One's absence saw Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Ray Wilkins, Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti, Andres Villas-Boas, Roberto di Matteo and Rafa Benitez all give it a go before Mourinho returned in the summer of 2013.
Scolari was appointed manager before the 2008/09 season. Image: PA Images.
Scolari came to the Premier League in 2008, just two years after he turned down the England job, but his tenure lasted just seven months, being sacked in the February of his first season.
A lack of English was often blamed for his eventual sacking but speaking to ESPN Brazil recently the former Brazil manager reckoned it was an argument with Nicolas Anelka that sealed his fate, saying:
"I had Anelka playing up front. Nine. Top scorer in the league.
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The players return, I make a meeting, and in the meeting I say: 'Look, now that the players have all returned, Drogba is back after two months, we will try to work a situation involving the two attackers playing one by the side, one in the centre, changing positions.'
"Then Anelka, the league's top scorer, said: 'I do not play on the wing.' Well, that's when I said, 'You don't play on the wing, one's going to be on the left, it's over, I'm not going to stay here arguing with you guys.' And there began a series of other things."
Anelka kept the Blues going in the absence of the injured Drogba. Image: PA Images.
Scolari also discussed the idea that it was his lack of English that led to his dismissal, adding, "They'll say: 'Oh, because you didn't speak English perfectly.' Of course, I did not. I didn't speak English perfectly. But I understood perfectly. We understood, with my English, and the English that was spoken there, we understood perfectly.
When Scolari was sacked Roman Abramovich's team were outside of the Champions League places but Guus Hiddink lost just one game in 22 and they finished the Premier League in third position.
Hiddink also led them to FA Cup glory and a Champions League semi-final, so perhaps the players weren't the problem...
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