LONDON - Chelsea sacked Brazilian coach
Luiz Felipe Scolari on Monday after just seven months in charge
of the Premier League club.
A poor run of form, culminating in Saturday's 0-0 draw at
home to Hull City has left Chelsea all but out of the title
race, seven points behind leaders Manchester United.
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Scolari, who led Brazil to victory in the World Cup final in
2002 and led Portugal to the runners-up spot in Euro 2004,
replaced Avram Grant as manager last year.
A statement on the club's website (www.chelseafc.com) said:
"Luiz Felipe Scolari has been dismissed as manager of Chelsea
Football Club today (Monday) with immediate effect.
"The Chelsea board would like to place on record our
gratitude for his time as manager.
"Felipe has brought many positives to the club since he
joined and we all feel a sense of sadness that our relationship
has ended so soon.
"Unfortunately the results and performances of the team
appeared to be deteriorating at a key time in the season."
The statement said assistant coach Ray Wilkins would take
charge on a temporary basis.
In a statement released through his agent Acaz Fellegger,
Scolari said he planned to give a news conference shortly.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to have worked at Chelsea
and in English football," he said. "It was a very valuable
experience. I'm sorry that it has not been a longer-lasting
relationship. I wish Chelsea luck in the three competitions in
which they are taking part."
Scolari became the second Premier League manager sacked on
Monday following the dismissal of Tony Adams from Portsmouth,
but despite growing frustration from the club's fans towards
him, his departure came as a surprise.
Chelsea are fourth in the Premier League and through to the
knockout stages of the Champions League with an upcoming tie
against Juventus, but he has paid the price for what is now
regarded at Stamford Bridge as an unsuccessful campaign.
The club's statement continued: "In order to maintain a
challenge for the trophies we are still competing for we felt
the only option was to make the change now. The search for a new
manager has already started and we hope to have someone in place
as soon as possible."
Scolari started brightly at Chelsea with six wins and two
draws from his first eight league games and they led the table
most weeks until the middle of November.
However, Liverpool won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Oct 26 to
end Chelsea's 86-match unbeaten home league run and their home
form, in particular, began to dip alarmingly with another loss
to Arsenal at the end of November and a series of poor draws.
Scolari's substitutions were also questioned by fans, who
taunted him on Saturday with cries of "you don't know what you
The club, which won back-to-back titles under Jose Mourinho
in 2005 and 2006 and were beaten on penalties in last season's
Champions League final by Manchester United, slipped further
back in the title race when they were beaten 3-0 by United and
2-0 by Liverpool recently.
Saturday's draw with Hull proved to be one poor result too
Scolari is the eighth Premier League manager to leave this
season after Adams was fired earlier on Monday.
Alan Curbishley, Kevin Keegan and Roy Keane quit West Ham
United, Newcastle United and Sunderland respectively, Harry
Redknapp left Portsmouth to replace the sacked Juande Ramos at
Spurs and Paul Ince was sacked by Blackburn Rovers in December.
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