Scolari calm despite injury crisis

October 17, 2008

Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is facing an injury crisis ahead of tomorrow's clash with Middlesbrough.

John Terry
GettyImages / LaurenceGriffithsJohn Terry is back in action for his club.

The Brazilian coach has captain John Terry fit again to face Gareth Southgate's side at the Riverside but has drafted in a host of youngsters for the trip north.

Among them is England under-21 defender Michael Mancienne and winger Scott Sinclair.

But Scolari is without regulars Petr Cech, Ashley Cole, Michael Ballack, Joe Cole, Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Ricardo Carvalho with doubts over Jose Bosingwa and Alex.

Scolari declared: ''Nineteen players I have to train. Nineteen are with me today. And all of those are in good condition. John Terry has recovered to play tomorrow.

''Joe Cole will not go with us. Some other players won't go with us because they are injured.

''But I have a team, I have players who will play against Middlesbrough and it's not a problem for me if we have one, two, three or four injuries.''

The latest addition to Scolari's mounting injury toll is German captain Michael Ballack.

Scolari confirmed Ballack is expected to be out for up to three weeks even though he played against Wales in Germany's 1-0 victory in midweek.

Ballack was already carrying a calf injury when he reported for international duty and that was further aggravated against Wales.

However, Scolari insists he is not angry over the loss of the midfielder.

''Ballack is out for maybe two or three weeks,'' admitted Scolari. ''I'm not angry. I'm happy because it's a test for me that I'm a good coach.

''I need to change it, to improve, I need to put other players in, I need to motivate other players.

''It's good for my job, it's good for my work. It's not difficult for me.

''For me it's normal, I need to build every week, one different team.

''Many clubs have injuries from the national games because they are strong games. In football it's normal.

''I worked yesterday, Thursday, with only 11 players. Today I worked with 17. It's better! Maybe Saturday I have 19.

''Against Roma in the Champions League next week, maybe I will have 20 or 21. This is the life for the coach, you need to understand we have different games and I need to understand that national teams want and need the players.

''I'm a coach, I need to build my team with the players that I have.

''The coaches for national teams don't want injuries for his players, he wants what we want - to win.

''It's not only one club that loses when national teams play. All the clubs. One time my club loses players, one time Liverpool, one time Man United. We need to accept this. If you don't accept this it's impossible.

''If you are injured at Chelsea you don't play, if you are injured in the national team you don't play. I don't see any time in my life when one coach put a player on the pitch if he is injured.''