Luiz Felipe Scolari believes fall-outs with Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka played key role in Chelsea sacking… with differences seeing him ‘lose out on one of the great chances of my life’
- Luiz Felipe Scolari has opened up on his sacking as Chelsea boss back in 2009
- The Brazilian replaced Avram Grant as boss but was gone seven months later
- He has revealed fall-outs with Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka hindered him
Luiz Felipe Scolari has revealed disagreements with Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka contributed to his sacking as Chelsea manager.
Scolari, 72, arrived with a stellar reputation to replace Avram Grant in 2008 – but within seven months he had been axed.
The Brazilian coach had a short stint in west London and he puts part of the reason down to difficult relationships with his two star strikers.
‘I had a form of leadership that clashed with one or two players,’ Scolari told Yellow and Green Football.
When asked to specify which players in particular he was referring to, he pointed the finger at Anelka and Drogba.
One of the disagreements with Drogba arose when the Ivorian was sidelined through injury.
Drogba reportedly wanted to head out to Cannes as part of his recovery but Scolari was of the opinion that the stricken striker needed to remain in London.
Anelka thrived in Drogba’s absence and when both were available for Scolari, Anelka was the league’s leading goalscorer with 19.
The plan was for Scolari to create a line-up that would allow both Drogba and Anelka to flourish – something that proved harder than the boss may have imagined.
Scolari said: ‘Anelka was the top scorer in the league. We had a meeting and Anelka said, “I only play in one position”. So, there was a bit of a lack of friendship, of respect, of trying to play together with Drogba.
‘That was when it changed a bit. But we’ve met since then, me and Drogba. The last time was in Russia in 2018. We spoke openly about it.
‘There wasn’t any ill intention from him or Anelka. But it happened and I lost out on one of the great chances of my life.’
Where Scolari failed his successor Carlo Ancelotti succeeded, managing to convince Anelka and Drogba that they could co-exist in attack.
Chelsea went on to win the Double in that season with both strikers in fine form.
Scolari has since managed clubs in Brazil, China and Uzbekistan as well as heading up the Brazilian national team for their home World Cup in 2014.
But it was his exit from Chelsea that really stung, particularly given he was keen to remain in England.
‘I wanted to keep working in England. I would work at any club. I think it’s marvellous,’ he said.
‘We went to play against Portsmouth and Sunderland. In stadiums that hold 20,000 people, 19,000 are cheering for the team of their city. I think that’s really beautiful. They don’t support the big clubs, they support their clubs.’