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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Scolari bemoans defending

Luiz Felipe Scolari blamed his team's poor defending after Chelsea blew its second chance to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages.

Chelsea had looked certain to reach the next phase when Nicolas Anelka put it in front on the hour with his 14th goal of the season.

But unmarked Alou Diarra headed an 82nd-minute equaliser to put Bordeaux level and Roma's win against Cluj left Chelsea in second place in Group A.

The Blues, yet to win away in Europe this season, now need to beat Cluj in their final group match at Stamford Bridge in a fortnight to ensure they qualify for the next phase of the competition.

"I am not satisfied with the goal we gave away," said Scolari. "It was a bad goal for us. We work on this in training and it is the first time in my period as Chelsea coach that we have conceded a goal from a corner."

"We scored our goal and but let them back into it and lost one player. That allowed Bordeaux to create more opportunities."

"The players did not relax. They respected the other team. But we made a mistake. We knew who should be marking the player and who should mark the ball, but mistakes happen."

"It was not because my players thought they had won the game, it was a mistake."

"Now we need to beat Cluj but if I thought my players did not have the quality to beat them at home, then it is better I go back to Brazil and stay there."

"We need to think about qualifying. Not this week but next week we will sit down and discuss why we have let two chances go."

"Qualification is still in our hands although we may not finish top of the group. But when we started the campaign, I didn't think about finishing second because I thought I had the players to arrive in first position in the group."

"But that is not in our hands any more because we lost these two points to Bordeaux."

Chelsea will have to beat Cluj without the services of midfielder Frank Lampard who was sent off late in the game for a second bookable offence.

But Scolari said: "We will be without him for the next game but after he was sent off, Bordeaux put us under more pressure because of their extra man."

However, the Brazilian was full of praise for striker Anelka.

"He is getting more confident with every game," added Scolari. "But I wanted to give Didier Drogba 30 minutes and took Anelka off because I had Sunday's game with Arsenal in mind."

"Anelka is my only striker for that game because Didier is suspended."

Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc was delighted with his players and was not looking forward to a final game against Roma where victory would see it finish as group winners.

"I am satisfied with the individual performances of my players and the team," said Blanc. "We wanted to press Chelsea and it required a lot of effort and in that respect we played the perfect match."

"We created more chances after their goal and got the equaliser."

"Our game plan was to reduce the space and the size of the pitch."

"We have played better matches but not against a team such as Chelsea."

"It is an exciting prospect to be going to Roma.