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Sarahs: Salih Ucan poised to breakout

AS Roma about an hour ago
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 29, 2008

'I know my team' - Scolari

Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has decided on his team to face Portsmouth in three weeks' time and will use the Russian leg of the Blues' pre-season tour to finalise his plans for the Premier League opener.

Prior to today's third and final leg of Chelsea's pre-season tour of Asia, the former Brazil coach revealed he had decided on 75% of the team who will line up at Stamford Bridge on August 17.

But following a 2-0 win over a Malaysian League Select XI in Kuala Lumpur, Scolari insisted he now has an idea of his starting XI - which he insists will satisfy owner Roman Abramovich's desire for attacking football.

After completing their Asian tour with a 100% record, Chelsea jet off to Moscow to face Lokomotiv Moscow on August 1 and either Sevilla or AC Milan two days later in the Railway Cup.

'I need to test the players, but in Russia I will pick my team thinking about Portsmouth and I will not make more than three or four changes,' said Scolari.

'I am testing all my players, I only have 11 places available. I need to choose 11 for the game against Portsmouth.

'I need to look at the players and different formations, what position is the best for a player and what position I can use someone in during a game. If they try their best, it is my time to decide.

'I think I have my team for the first game against Portsmouth. I now have my ideas, not just after seeing the players on television. I know more about their personality on and off the field.

'Over the three games I have been able to see the players on the pitch so in the future, in a match situation, I know which player to use. The results are not important, it is match training, I need to look at the players and decide, yes or no.

'But I have the players who can play exciting football and I have the team who can be champions.'

In front of a near capacity crowd at the Shah Alam Stadium in the Malaysian capital, Scolari watched his new charges face their toughest opposition so far during pre-season.

The home side came close on several occasions to ending Chelsea's clean-sheet record after the Blues had scored 11 goals without conceding against two Chinese Super League teams.

But goals from an impressive Nicolas Anelka, who again led the Chelsea line in a lone striking role, and Ashley Cole sealed the win on a difficult pitch.

'I was just happy we got through the game without injury. It was impossible to play on the pitch,' added Scolari.

'We did not have to win or get the three points, we just had to perform.

'I saw some players play better than in the other games. We now have time to discuss this game and the other games before we start a new pre-season in Russia. After that we will be ready.'

Summer signing Deco again produced another impressive display in the Blues midfield and the Portugal international came close to netting his first goal for Chelsea with a stunning first-half volley from Frank Lampard's corner. The set-piece picked out the former Porto man on the edge of the area but his effort was turned away by the Malaysia goalkeeper.

'The players have improved their fitness over the last three games, they are more free, they have more confidence,' said Scolari. 'We brought in Bosingwa and Deco over the summer and they needed to get to know the team and the team had to get to know the them.'

Scolari was also pleased to see Andriy Shevchenko made his first appearance of the pre-season campaign after the Ukrainian striker missed the opening two games due to a lack of match fitness.

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