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Feb 9, 2009

Scolari a victim of ''instant success'' philosophy

On the day that one inexperienced Portsmouth boss' sacking proved that the Premier League is not a place for fledgling managers, one of the most experienced around fell victim to a club's desire for immediate success.

Tony Adams will be back, although probably not as a manager in the top flight, but while his fall was wholly expected, Luiz Felipe Scolari's sacking from Chelsea was not.

In the midst of a credit crunch, Roman Abramovich has evidently chosen to ignore his series of cutbacks at Stamford Bridge and splashed out on an estimated £12m payoff for the former Brazil coach. Quite why he would chose to take such a radical step remains unclear.

The rumours coming out of the Chelsea camp in recent weeks have not been good. With star striker Didier Drogba benched and unable to get into the side, speculation had surfaced that other players were not happy either. A dressing room of big egos need marshalling and Scolari apparently wasn't up to the task.

Seven points off Man Utd at the top of the league, the nails have already been hammered into their title coffin and dropping 16 points at Stamford Bridge (previously a fortress under Jose Mourinho) has not helped. Yet the reality is that Chelsea have been far from awful this season.

In fact, they stormed to the top of the league at the start of the campaign and, combined with an incredible run of away wins, had the pundits purring over the style of their football.

That was four months ago. And things have changed, with the club now slipping to fourth place, but surely not to the extent where they would sack one of the world's best regarded tacticians?

Chelsea's recent performances have come under fire, but it's not as if they don't have the talent on tap to turn things around. A 3-0 defeat to Manchester United set the rumour mill into motion, with some reporters claiming that Scolari's resignatory post-match press conference would not endear him to the Chelsea top brass.

Another defeat, 2-0 to Liverpool (albeit a late one) saw Scolari claim that Chelsea simply ''weren't good enough''. An opinion echoed by Nicolas Anelka, of all people. But injuries to key players played their part and the club were certainly not in crisis.

Fans cried out for more additions, but the lack of movement in the transfer window can be attributed more to Roman's desire to slash his own expenditure than anything else. In fact, the one loan addition that Scolari did bring in, Portuguese winger Ricardo Quaresma, was seen as the kind of player who could truly improve the squad - bringing in some much needed width.

Yet failure at this level is not tolerated. A draw against Rosenborg set the seal on Jose Mourinho's time at Stamford Bridge. A draw against Hull accounted for Scolari. Guus Hiddink and Avram Grant are apparently being lined up to take over, but it is becoming obvious that nothing but instant success is accepted at Chelsea.

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