Scolari keen to keep duo at Stamford Bridge

July 8, 2008

Luiz Felipe Scolari insists that both Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba have a future with him at Chelsea.

The new Chelsea coach was quick to reject suggestions that Lampard would be sold to Inter Milan and that Ivory Coast striker Drogba was bound for their Serie A rivals AC Milan.

Scolari was officially unveiled by Chelsea at Cobham's Hilton Hotel today and immediately warned the rest of Europe that his top players were staying put.

Chelsea had earlier announced that they had rejected an approach for Lampard from Inter Milan and declared that he was not for sale.

Scolari underlined their stance by claiming that Lampard had already told him that he wants to stay for more than the one remaining year of his current contract.

'I met Frank Lampard yesterday and I spoke to him,' said Scolari. 'I like him too much as a player and as a person.

'I asked him if he wanted to stay at Chelsea, not only for this season but for more time.

'He told me after 15 minutes that he wants to stay and he wants to play for Chelsea for many years.

'I am very happy because I think Chelsea needs Lampard and he likes Chelsea. Now it's a minimum of questions to solve it. I think Lampard is with us for more time than one year.

'Drogba is part of my plans 100%. No, 200%. I like him. Last season or two years ago I voted him one of the best players in the world. I think two or three years ago I chose John Terry. Now they are with me. I am happy.

'I spoke to Drogba because he arrived in our (training) base. He has a little problem with his knee. I spoke to him about how many times he needs normal training (but) I saw him happy.'

And while Terry's captaincy may be under threat at international level under Fabio Capello, as far as the new Chelsea coach is concerned, the defender will retain the armband at Stamford Bridge.

'I like him as a captain, I like him as a player,' said Scolari. 'I like him as a leader. Yesterday he came to my room and said 'I am John Terry'. I replied 'I know you' and we spoke.

'The captain is John Terry and second captain is Lampard. But we want more captains inside the team.'

Although Scolari insisted that two of his top players were not for sale, the Brazilian was not as forthcoming about any more new arrivals.

'I don't know now how many changes I need because I need to watch training, I need to know the players,' he added: 'When you are on the outside you have one idea - when you are inside the group you need to know the group, the characters, the qualities.

'After this it's possible to say how many changes I want or we need or don't need.'

Scolari looked refreshed after the rigours of his unsuccessful Euro 2008 campaign with Portugal and spoke in English for the majority of his first media conference.

The man who once famously ruled himself out of the running to manage England says the opportunity to manage Chelsea was a challenge he could not resist.

'It's a new challenge in my life,' added Scolari. 'It's a different challenge. I don't think in my life I have had one opportunity like Chelsea have given to me now.

'When I accepted this invitation I was thinking about my life as a coach and I think it's the right time.'

He spurned the England post due to concerns about the intense media pressure but now he is confident he can cope with all the added expectations of managing a club like Chelsea.

'Look, the pressure from media is around the world,' he added. 'If you are the coach in Brazil - wow, you know what pressure is. I think I am prepared. It's the first time for me in England but I haven't had a problem with the media during my life. I don't think I have a problem with it.'

The 59-year-old also declared himself unafraid of getting the sack if he should end his first year without a trophy.

Former coach Avram Grant finished runner-up to Manchester United in both the domestic top flight and the Champions League and Scolari is realistic enough to know that delivering silverware is crucial.

'I think all the coaches in the world need to win,' said Scolari. 'One or two or three competitions. All coaches. I am now in one of the big clubs in the world and for sure I need to win a competition. If I don't win it's the same for any coach.

'If it's possible and we try to play beautiful football. But sometimes if you want to win some games you don't play beautiful.

'Sure I want both - to win and play beautiful. Sometimes it's impossible.

'I think we have to think and to value all the competitions we participate in. After that we try to follow our own way to try to win as much as we can. I'm not going to give a priority to any of the competitions. All of them will be important.'