Scolari tells stars to 'play with love for Chelsea'

If Chelsea does not quite yet resemble a sinking ship, Luiz Felipe Scolari yesterday told his players he was more than happy for them to make like rats, if they so desired.

With the transfer window shutting exactly two weeks today, the Chelsea manager spelt out that he had no wish for drifters or half-hearted turns in a blue shirt. Having dropped Didier Drogba prior to Wednesday's FA Cup third round replay win against Southend, that could be seen primarily as a message to the Ivory Coast forward, but Scolari was clear that it applied to his entire squad.

The Brazilian is unsure why the strength, spirit and good results of the first half of the season have gone, but he suspects some of his players have been approached to join other clubs, and this has affected their attitude. But the win in midweek confirmed for him that his team can rouse itself when needed to. At Roots Hall against Southend they fell 1-0 behind before coming back to win 4-1.

"I don't know if Didier doesn't want to play – I think he wants to," Scolari said, who added that Chelsea have been working on the Ivorian's mental application. "It's the time for everyone to play as a group, as a spirit and as love to Chelsea, or it's time to change.

"It's not about Didier, it's about all of my players, until the end of January is the time for transfers. If they are not transferred they need to play, to love Chelsea, to play with their heart.

"If after 31 January all the players stay here, they know we need to fight together until 27 May [the Champions League final] together. If no, now is the time to change. Not for one or two players. I know many managers and assistants call players. Now is the time to call and buy. Not make a problem for me. Because I don't make a problem for other coaches. Because I have ethics. I have time for all my players.

"Now is the time. Every day I look in the papers about contact for players. OK. Pay what the club wants and go. If you don't go, stay here. But stay because this job is very good and because you love the club. Finish."

This was Scolari's second outspoken press conference this week, having on Tuesday accused most of his players of giving less than 50 per cent in their recent games. Against Southend he was pleased to see he got a reaction and he now asked his team to continue in that vein. "We have good players, fantastic technically. But we need spirit every game, every day, every hour. Because on Wednesday we won, not because we played fantastic but because of the heart, we loved the club, we wanted to win."

Scolari, who faces Stoke City and their aerial threat today, is likely to start with Nicolas Anelka as his main striker, but having not even included Drogba in his squad of 16 against Southend, it will be interesting to see if he is on the bench, at least, in the battle for league points.

Scolari said they were working to improve the 30-year-old's state of mind. He said: "Drogba was left out because of his condition. Now we start to change his mind because sometimes he is not the same as before. Sometimes you put in your head something and it blocks. Now it's time to open this space in his head and give him more confidence."

If Scolari loses these mind games, the consequences could be dire for him and Chelsea.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Amis: Taken to task over rash decisions and ill-judged statements
booksThe Zone of Interest just doesn't work, says James Runcie
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home