Scolari shrugs off Ferguson's barbs as Blues win with ease

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The Independent Football

The Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari refused to be drawn into a pre-season war of words with his Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson following the Scot's comments that Scolari's charges are too old to mount a title challenge.

Ferguson said he is unconcerned by Chelsea's credentials to challenge United for the Premier League this season and cited Arsenal and Liverpool as his side's rivals. But after watching his new team open their pre-season tour of Asia and Russia with a comfortable 4-0 win over Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Pharmaceutical yesterday, Scolari refused to use his first opportunity to retaliate.

"I will not answer this question. This is not a question for me," he said. "I think I have a lot of experienced players and also some young boys in my team but I feel we have experience for the Premier League or whatever league."

Salomon Kalou, Frank Lampard, Argentine teenager Franco Di Santo and Shaun Wright-Phillips all scored as Chelsea eased to victory in the southern Chinese city. England midfielder Lampard, whose future at Stamford Bridge remains in doubt as he enters the final year of his contract, played the entire game at the Guangzhou Olympic Stadium, scoring with a spectacular chip at the start of the second half.

Scolari has already insisted the fact the 30-year-old has travelled to the Far East with Chelsea is a positive sign despite speculation linking him with a summer move to join former coach Jose Mourinho at Internazionale, whose developing interest in Portsmouth's Sulley Muntari may yet affect Lampard's future.

"I have said before, Frank is here, he is with us training and playing very well, he is an important player for us," said Scolari. "The speculation is normal because until 31 August there will be a lot of speculation."

Portugal international Deco made his Chelsea debut alongside compatriot Jose Bosingwa and Scolari believes the former Barcelona midfielder will play an important part in any success this season. "Deco is a fantastic player and he helps the other players to play more," said the former Portugal manager. "He is a different player because his style is different, but his style with the other players is fantastic."

Bosingwa was withdrawn after only 20 minutes having looked impressive in an attacking right-back role, but Chelsea have confirmed his substitution was only precautionary with the former Porto defender complaining of a minor thigh problem.

Joe Cole and Andrei Shevchenko were not included in the squad as they are short of match fitness, but while Scolari said the Ukrainian will not feature in Saturday's friendly in Macau, he admitted he was hopeful over the inclusion of Cole.

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