Luiz Felipe Scolari has voiced his reasoning as to why his time as Chelsea manager was cut short and how Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba lost him an ‘opportunity of a lifetime’.
The 71-year-old journeyman manager became Blues manager in July 2008 before getting sacked in February 2009.
He recorded a fairly plausible 55.6%-win rate. The Blues began the season in spectacular fashion, winning ten of their first 13 games, however, winning just four Premier League games between December and February spelt Scolari’s exit.
Aside from a disappointing Christmas and New Year period, Scolari believes his change in fortunes was because of Anelka and Drogba’s selfishness.
Anelka proved his worth in Ivorian absence
At the dawn of the Premier League season, Drogba continued to nurse an injury which opened the doors for Anelka to showcase his worth.
The French hitman led the Blue line and flourished under Scolari in the opening stages of the season scoring 12 goals in 13 games.
Drogba soon returned, meanwhile Anelka led the Premier League goalscoring charts. Tensions simultaneously soared.
Scolari saw initial cracks appear
Once the Ivorian striker had returned from injury, Scolari claimed this is when he was stuck at a crossroads.
With two world-class strikers at his disposal, Scolari attempted to resonate with the pair. This was not welcomed lightly as neither striker wanted to be played out of position.
Scolari began to see the cracks in the trio's relationship early on as he explains his side of the story.
“Our medical department thought that we should let Drogba go and recover [from surgery] in Cannes, in the middle of summer,” Scolari told Yellow and Green Football.
“I thought he should stay in London. I’d also like to go to Cannes in the middle of summer. I’d stay there for a month, two months, enjoying myself.
“When he came back, I tried to adapt so that Drogba and Anelka could play together. Anelka was the top scorer in the league. We had a meeting and Anelka said: ‘I only play in one position.’
“So, there was a bit of a lack of friendship, of respect, of trying to play together with Drogba. They were both great, but someone had to do something different, to get back to help when we lost the ball.
“That was when it changed a bit. But we’ve met since then, me and Drogba. The last time was in Russia in 2018. We spoke openly about it.
“There wasn’t any ill intention from him or Anelka. But it happened and I lost out on one of the great chances of my life.”