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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 13, 2008

Familiar pressures for Scolari's first Euro tie

Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has managed 16 different teams in six different countries during a trophy-laden, 26-year managerial career but Tuesday will see him take part in the Champions League for the first time.

Laurent Blanc's Bordeaux are the visitors to Stamford Bridge and like Chelsea they had to be content with second place in the league last term.

The former Portugal manager, who guided Brazil to glory in the 2002 World Cup finals, must surely know there is a huge weight of expectation on his shoulders following last season's penalty shoot-out heartbreak in Moscow.

Owner Roman Abramovich has always coveted Europe's most prestigious club trophy and that desire will have intensified after seeing Manchester United triumph in the final by the narrowest of margins, just as they had in the Barclays Premier League a few days previously.

But Scolari insisted he would feel no more pressure when the Champions League theme tune begins to play than if League Two Macclesfield had come down to London for a Carling Cup tie.

He said: ''The pressure for me and the players is not only for the Champions League. It is for the FA Cup, the Carling Cup and the Premier League - we want to win all of the games.

''For me, the Champions League is not more important than the Carling Cup.

''It is important but it is not more important than a league game.

''We need to think game by game. If I say the Champions League is the most important then my players will ask why they need to bother in the other games.

''I respect the Champions League but all games are important. If you think a game is not important you will lose it before it starts.''

A knee injury has robbed Scolari of midfielder Michael Essien for the next six months but Didier Droba is ready to make a timely return up front following his own knee problems.

Former Manchester United defender Blanc also has a selection headache with defenders Mathieu Chalme and Benoit Tremoulinas suspended.

Blanc also has a strong South American contingent to call upon in Brazilian quartet Carlos Henrique, Fernando Menegazzo, Jussie and Wendel and Argentinian duo Diego Placente and Fernando Cavenaghi.

Scolari said: ''That is good because it will be easier for me to say to my players 'this player plays this way' because I know them well.''

The 59-year-old was merely an interested spectator in May as he was still managing the Portugal national team.

Captain John Terry was the fall guy in he final when he failed to convert the penalty which would have won the shoot-out.

Scolari said: ''When he missed that penalty I was sad because I like him. But it was just one shot in one game and life continues.

''I had always liked John as a player. Now I like him even more than before. We talk every day. I am a democratic man you know. I listen.''

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