Luiz Felipe Scolari had his contract terminated with immediate effect this past week to the shock of the football world, but really was it a shock? The performances on the pitch combined with players in turmoil off it seemed to lead to “Big Phil’s” release. However it is believed that a few key players are to blame and they are not Chelsea captain John Terry and vice captain Frank Lampard who were believed to be fully behind the Brazilian. The cause of the problems according to reports are the usual suspects: Didier Drogba and Michael Ballack. However perhaps more surprisingly Chelsea no.1 Petr Cech’s name was mentioned to be one of a few who were anti Scolari. According to sources close to the players Scolari was late to training, he didn’t listen to the players who’s desire was to play 4-4-2 instead of a deteriorating formation of 4-3-3, Mourinho’s system. Scolari threatened Anelka claiming that “with attitude like his he wont play for the football club anymore” after being asked to play wide left. Along with a list on cons to Scolari’s name was the frustration to switch from man marking to zonal marking brought on by a defence leaking goals, which seemed to get on the nerves of versatile centre back Ricardo Carvalho.
As anyone who seems left in the dark with this crisis only has to fit the pieces of the puzzle together to find out what went wrong. Firstly, Didier Drogba who committed his love and future to the club at the beginning of the season by reiterating he wanted to see out the remainder of his two year contract with the blues and possibly extend it fell out with Scolari, Drogba claimed “ I think this is the club that suits me best, it is here I have won all my titles” it is clear to see after a lacklustre performance by the Ivorian hit man at Old Trafford on the 13th of January led to the breakdown in relationship between Scolari and Drogba. Ever since that game Drogba, by order of Scolari, was forced to train with the reserves and dropped him all together, also for the record Drogba has not started a game since. Scolari allegedly fell out with Petr Cech’s goalkeeping coach causing Cech to react badly to Scolari’s handling of the situation, and gradually one by one Scolari’s men were growing independent. More followed suit with Michael Ballack and Ricardo Carvalho unhappy with Scolari’s tactics on field it seemed there was no war Scolari could win, he was fighting a losing battle and eventually fell victim to treason. The easier option is always to sack the manager instead of the whole team. However there were many who were fully behind Scolari both John Terry and Frank Lampard as well as Job Obi Mikel who has had a lengthy run in the side due to the long term injury of Ghanaian Michael Essien. Mikel stated: “ I am disappointed he was a great manager, a nice person and a father figure to the club. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for Chelsea but I think he is a great manager and I am sad to see him go” Despite what Mikel thought of Scolari he still conceded that they were struggling under the Brazilian to find the right winning formula.
As for Chelsea and Roman Abramovich the search for a 3rd manager in the space of a year will begin with Guus Hiddink the clear favourite. The Dutchman is set to make a decision within the next few days on whether he will take the vacancy as well as manage the Russian national side something he has done in the past with Australia and PSV Eindhoven. Hiddink however providing he agrees terms will only hold the fort until the summer where it is believed either Frank Rijkaard, Gianfranco Zola or Carlo Ancelotti will step into arguably the most difficult job in football.
As for Scolari he will continue to live in London for the time being. However it is thought he will return to international level when the right opportunity comes along with Brazilian manager Dunga and Portugal manager Carlos Quieroz under pressure, with Scolari waiting in the wings it could only be a matter of time before we see Big Phil back on the footballing scene, but as far as his management career in the premier league in concerned Luiz Felipe Scolari is another name on the list on managers not given enough time to fulfil their ambitions.