Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Scolari Warns Rivals: Our Players Practice Football

New Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari fired an ominous warning ahead of the start of the Premier League season, noting that his players frequently practice the various skills needed to play football.

"I can't speak for other clubs, but at Chelsea, our players are always practicing kicking the football. Kicking it hard, kicking it gently, kicking it high, and kicking it low. They practice headers and trapping the football, too. Our players practice football."

The news will be daunting to many clubs around the league, although Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson did not seem impressed. "Our players also practice, every day. I turn up at 9 and they are here, putting on their practice football kits, and going out to a grassy area we rented for them and practicing their football-playing. I tell them, 'You lads must really love football!'"

Chelsea and United battled for both the League and Champions League last season, seemingly validating the strategy of practicing. But not everyone is convinced.

"I think if you practice football, what should be natural becomes mechanical, like a chore," said Spurs manager Juande Ramos. "I discourage it."

The Premier League season kicks off Saturday.

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