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Page last updated at 21:57 GMT, Saturday, 14 June 2008 22:57 UK

Chelsea challenge excites Scolari

Luiz Felipe Scolari
Scolari is eagerly anticipating a fresh challenge at Stamford Bridge

Luiz Felipe Scolari says a new challenge and financial security were two reasons why he agreed to become the new manager of Chelsea on 1 July.

The current Portugal coach said: "Five and a half years is a record for me in a job. It's good to change."

The Brazilian conceded that there was some financial motivation behind his decision because the 59-year-old wants to retire before he is 70.

"Yes, that is one of the reasons," added Scolari.

He was speaking at a media conference ahead of Portugal's final group A match, which is against Switzerland in Basel on Sunday.

He confirmed: "It was not only because they (the Portuguese Football Federation) did not get the appropriate sums. I am 59 and I don't want to work as a coach until I'm 70.

"I want to retire in four or five more years, so money was an issue but not the only one."

Scolari won the 2002 World Cup with Brazil, led Portugal to the final of Euro 2004 and also won nine domestic trophies in Brazil.

And he believes he can overcome any potential difficulties in his new role - his first in European club management.

"I think I'm a good manager, relatively good," he explained.

"The results of the squads I've coached speak for themselves. I have got my weak points but can't tell you my pluses or minuses. Ask the players I have worked with.

I spent 20 years as a club manager, so I think I know the ins and outs of club management

Luiz Felipe Scolari

"I spent 20 years as a club manager, so I think I know the ins and outs of club management.

"When I work with my players, I speak English, Portuguese, German, Italian because football is one language.

"I feel comfortable anywhere in the world as I'm someone who always has good relations with people around me."

Former Middlesbrough midfielder Juninho, who played under Scolari for Brazil, believes that the Chelsea players will find that their new manager is very much his own man.

606: DEBATE
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"He is very strict. He gives respect to the players and he wants respect back," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"(John) Terry or (Frank) Lampard - they don't get to do different things. At the World Cup, I had to do the same as Ronaldinho. It's the best way.

"(As Brazil manager) he had to cope with pressure from supporters and journalists and he did very well.

"For example, everyone wanted Romario in the national team, but Scolari preferred to play in his own way. He keeps his own opinions and in the end he shows that he is right."

Scolari claimed that his reputation as a strict disciplinarian has been exaggerated.

"You have to ask my wife," Scolari said. "She is the one who knows best. I am what you see: I like to play, I like to joke, I like a good atmosphere, to play with my players.

"I'm not someone who likes to go to parties, I am shy."

Despite his high-profile switch to the Premier League, Scolari says he is totally focused on the challenge of trying to guide Portugal to what would be their first European Championship triumph.

"It is not going to change anything at the moment," he insisted.

"I am here with my body and soul, completely involved to the end and I hope we can get to another final."


see also
Deco 'to join Scolari's Chelsea'
13 Jun 08 |  Chelsea
Chelsea players welcome Scolari
12 Jun 08 |  Chelsea
Scolari - the view from Brazil
12 Jun 08 |  Chelsea
Scolari named as Chelsea manager
11 Jun 08 |  Chelsea
Scolari's career in photos
11 Jun 08 |  Chelsea


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