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By ESPN Staff
Sep 19, 2008

Scolari plays down Moscow revenge talk

Luiz Felipe Scolari insists Chelsea's clash against Manchester United on Sunday is not a Moscow revenge mission - and he has not even looked at a video of last season's Champions League final.

United lifted Europe's top prize after a penalty shoot-out last May, with John Terry missing a spot-kick that would have sealed victory for Chelsea.

There is added spice to this weekend's clash as it follows on from the "Battle of the Bridge", when Patrice Evra clashed with Chelsea staff during the warm-down after a game won by Michael Ballack's late strike.

However, Chelsea boss Scolari is solely focused on extending his side's lead to nine-points over United in the Premier League title race.

"When I came to England the challenge was to win the Premier League, not just the games against Manchester United," he said.

"The challenge for Chelsea is to win all the competitions in which we participate. This is one more game. Nothing different.

"Three points against United are the same three points as against Stoke City, Wigan or Portsmouth. The same.

"I have videos of Manchester United in this season's Champions League, and of their last two games in the Premier League. Now is different to what happened in May. Now is important.

"They have a fantastic group. If they play A, B or C, it's the same. They have 25 or 26 fantastic players, and they're in a better condition now than at the start of the season."

Scolari has been monitoring Ballack's return from a foot injury, while striker Didier Drogba is available after a knee complaint but will not play for 90 minutes.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who played under Scolari for Portugal, is expected to feature for United after his comeback from ankle surgery.

Scolari said: "I think he will start. My players are thinking that they will mark him very well but there is Tevez, Rooney, O'Shea, Hargreaves, Nani, Berbatov.

"They have a beautiful team, a fantastic team, and this is a big game. The players are prepared for this."

Ronaldo's relationship with Scolari is just one of the links between the two teams - former United midfielder Ray Wilkins has returned to Chelsea as assistant first-team coach while former United assistant Carlos Queiroz took over from Scolari as Portugal boss.

Scolari also has a working relationship with United boss Sir Alex Ferguson from when Ronaldo has been playing for Portugal, and the Chelsea boss will present a customary bottle of wine to his counterpart.

"After the game, we'll have some wine," he said.

"I know he doesn't drink Portuguese wine because he did not have it with (Jose) Mourinho.

"I don't have any Brazilian wine. Maybe I need to have some French wine, South African wine. After this, Sir Alex will be happy. We'll know who's happier after the match."

Ferguson was furious with the Football Association overturning Terry's suspension, with Scolari delighted to have his captain available.

"In certain moments in the game, it's more important to have him there as a man or a captain than as a player," said the Brazilian.

Between United and Chelsea, the team that has started better in recent seasons have tended to take the title, adding more significance to Sunday's clash.

Scolari added: "If we win, we follow with Liverpool in first position. We are together at the moment in first position.

"It's better for us to be nine points ahead of United, but it's only the start of the league. There is a long way to go.

"If it was the last three or four games, nine points would be fantastic. But we have 33 games more so nine points is nothing."

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