Luiz Felipe Scolari took over as manager of Chelsea on 1 July 2008. This was announced shortly after Portugal’s Euro 2008 match against the Czech Republic on 11 June. With this appointment, Scolari became the first World Cup-winning manager to manage in the Premier League. In previous press conferences, Scolari had talked about “tantrums” and “triumphs” and had a reputation as a tough and unpredictable person.
When asked whether his decision to join Chelsea was financial, he responded, “Yes, that is one of the reasons,” but also added, “I’m 59 and I don’t want to work as a coach until I’m 70. I want to retire in four or five years, so it was a financial matter but there are other things.” He also said, “I could offer my son the opportunity to study elsewhere. You only get this kind of opportunity once so you take it or leave it, but it was not only financial.”
Scolari later said that he had turned down an offer to manage Manchester City. Scolari’s first match in charge of Chelsea was a friendly match against Chinese side Guangzhou Pharmaceutical, a 4–0 victory. He made Barcelona midfielder Deco, a player he was familiar with on the Portuguese national team, his first signing for a fee of around £8 million, but was subsequently frustrated in his attempts to sign Brazilian international Robinho from Real Madrid.
Under Scolari, Chelsea had the biggest away win of the club in five years in which Chelsea won 5–0 at the Riverside Stadium in October 2008. It was also the club’s biggest win ever at Middlesbrough.
Scolari was sacked as Chelsea manager on 9 February 2009 after a run of poor form culminating in a 2–0 defeat at Liverpool followed by frustrating 0–0 home draw with Hull City. The club’s stated reason for his removal was that “the results and performances of the team appeared to be deteriorating at a key time in the season”. Scolari’s replacement at Chelsea for the remainder of the 2008–09 season was Dutch manager Guus Hiddink, who simultaneously managed the Russian national team.
During his stint at Chelsea, Scolari was sometimes referred to as “Phil” or “Big Phil” in the English media. He was manager at the club for a period of seven months
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