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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 15, 2008

I need to work more on Anelka's head - Scolari

Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has promised the Stamford Bridge faithful he intends to solve the riddle that is Nicolas Anelka.

The former Arsenal, Real Madrid and Liverpool striker has not made a huge impact since leaving Bolton and had the misfortune of his penalty shoot-out failure handing last season's Champions League trophy to Manchester United.

The Frenchman has a reputation for being a moody and difficult character and Scolari has already made clear his intention of getting inside his mind.

He said: 'Anelka has looked good in training and will play as centre-forward. He played well in the friendly games but he is quiet.

'If you say 'good morning' to him he will say 'good morning' back but if you don't he won't say anything because he is quiet.

'We need to put fire in Anelka - tell him 'look Anelka, you are very good'. Maybe this will be the season for Anelka.

'I need to work more on his head, on his thinking in the field, because he has good quality.'

Anelka will start the season, which begins at Stamford Bridge on Sunday when Portsmouth are the visitors, as the focal point of the Chelsea attack as Didier Drogba and Andriy Shevchenko are out injured.

Pompey will field an all-England attack in Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe, and Scolari is adamant Harry Redknapp's side could actually become title contenders this season.

He said: 'I saw many games in pre-season and if you say only one or two teams can win it, I think you are wrong. I saw a minimum of eight teams playing very well.

'It won't only be Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool, not this season. There are three or four other clubs who have good teams, like Tottenham and Portsmouth, who are strong teams.

'Yesterday I saw Manchester City and just because they lost doesn't mean they are not a good team.

'All the games here are important and difficult games, unlike in other leagues where you have two or three teams only and you win 15 out of 20 games.

'Here you can never be sure you will win a game and that is exciting. Every week you have a new challenge.

'One week you will be playing a team like Portsmouth, who have a lot of tall players, the next a team where everyone is fast. England is different.'

The Brazilian could not shed any light on the progress of fellow countryman Robinho's move to Stamford Bridge with the Real Madrid striker reportedly contemplating going on strike to speed up the deal.

He said: 'He is a very good player, I like him very much but so do all the other coaches in the world. Exactly what is happening with him I don't know at the moment.

'It is not my business, it is the business for the board to talk about money.

'He is a fantastic player who could play in any team in the world but I am happy with my players at Chelsea. If one or two more players arrive it will be better for us.

'We play 60 or 70 games a year so the door is always open for the players here and maybe one or two more in the future.

'But if we lose against Portsmouth it won't be because Robinho is not here, it will be because we haven't played well.'

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