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Scolari shrugs off Fergie's comments

Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari refused to be drawn into a pre-season war of words with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson following comments the Brazilian's charges are too old to mount a title challenge.

Ferguson insisted he is unconcerned by Chelsea's credentials to challenge United for the Premier League crown this season and pointed towards Arsenal and Liverpool as his side's rivals.

But after watching his new side open their pre-season tour of Asia and Russia with a comfortable 4-0 win over Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Pharmaceutical today, Scolari refused to use his first opportunity to retaliate.

'I will not answer this question. This is not a question for me,' said the former Portugal coach.

'I think I have a lot of experienced players and also some young boys in my team but I feel we have experience for the Premier League or whatever league.'

Salomon Kalou, Frank Lampard, Argentinian teenager Franco Di Santo and Shaun Wright-Phillips all scored as Chelsea eased to victory in the southern Chinese city.

'I think it is normal for a first game,' added Scolari. 'The players have trained well for the last two weeks, more fitness than technical training.'

England midfielder Lampard, whose future at Stamford Bridge remains in doubt as he enters the final year of his contract, played the entire game at the Guangzhou Olympic Stadium, while scoring a spectacular chip at the start of the second half.

Scolari has already insisted the fact the 30-year-old has made the trip to the Far East with Chelsea is a positive sign despite speculation linking him with a summer move to join former coach Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan.

'I have said before, Frank is here, he is with us training and playing very well, he is an important player for us,' said Scolari.

'The speculation is normal because until August 31 there will be a lot of speculation.'

Portugal international Deco made his Chelsea debut alongside compatriot Jose Bosingwa and Scolari believes the former Barcelona midfielder will play an important part in any success this season.

'I think not only Deco, all the players have to make a difference this season because this season will be difficult,' he said.

'Deco is a fantastic player and he helps the other players to play more. He is a different player because his style is different, but his style with the other players is fantastic.'

Bosingwa was withdrawn after just 20 minutes after making an impressive debut in an attacking right-back role, but Chelsea have confirmed the move was only precautionary with the former Porto defender complaining of a minor thigh problem.

Joe Cole and Andriy Shevchenko were not included in the matchday squad as they are short of match fitness, but while Scolari insisted the Ukrainian will not feature in Saturday's friendly in Macau, he admitted he was more hopeful over the inclusion of the England midfielder.


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