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Jan, 13, 2009

Pressure mounts on Scolari amid "Anelka bust-up"

Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari's future is under the microscope again with British newspapers claiming he only has weeks to save his job.

The Blues' 3-0 capitulation to Manchester United on Sunday has left serious question marks over his long-term position and an unthinkable defeat at Southend in the FA Cup on Wednesday night could force the Chelsea board into a knee-jerk decision.

Scolari is due to attend a board meeting on Thursday morning and already faces a grilling, even if they avoid the banana skin at Roots Hall.

The press are giving Scolari between four weeks and four months to turn things around - despite the Blues still being second in the Premier League and in the latter stages of the Champions League.

And now it has been reported that Scolari had a huge bust-up with striker Nicolas Anelka in the run-up to the game at Old Trafford.

Scolari has been left with a selection headache following the return to fitness of Didier Drogba considering the manager is loathe to play both up front in a two-pronged attack.

According to The Sun, the Brazilian boss told Anelka he would only put him in the starting line-up against United if he agreed to play on the left of midfield. This was met with anger by a player who is still clear at the top of the Premier League goalscoring chart and who has started the last three matches on the bench.

Rumours of a communication breakdown are now intensifying and Big Phil knows time is not on his side. After a great start to life in the English game things have turned sour and he may not last one season in the Premier League.

Scolari is now searching for answers to the club's problems.

"There are two options," Scolari said. "Either I stick with the same players and they raise themselves or I change them and try some different players.

"There will be no new players coming in. I spoke with (chief executive) Peter Kenyon a month ago and 10 days ago. This is my squad and I'm happy with it.

"I don't know now what the answer is. I need to think about it. We are not playing well enough to win any competition. We haven't played well for the last five games and lost many opportunities. It (title race) is not finished yet.

"I need to try to talk with the players and show them what has happened. They need to understand what has happened in the last two or three games. They have to ask in their own minds if they believe we can still do it but accept they need to work more to do what we did at the start of the season."

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