Thursday, February 12, 2009


MICHAEL BALLACK has delivered his own damning verdict on Big Phil Scolari’s Chelsea reign by admitting the Brazilian was the club’s weakest link.

Scolari was sacked on Monday after the Blues dropped to fourth in the league, seven points behind leaders Manchester United.

Several senior stars are believed to have put the boot into Scolari when Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich sought opinions before axing him and replacing the World Cup winner with Guus Hiddink.

But even though the German midfielder accepts he and his team-mates should shoulder part of the blame for Chelsea’s dip, he believes Scolari left himself wide open to criticism.

Ballack said: “Every coach has his own training methods – and Scolari has been very successful with his way of doing things in the past.

“He has proved that he is a great coach but most recently there has been a lack of success at Chelsea. When that happens the blame comes down on to the weakest link in the chain – the manager.

“The players are also responsible for the fact that things have not gone so well recently.

“I was surprised about Scolari being sacked. I had not expected it and I had a good relationship with him.”

Ballack added: “Something like this is always unpleasant. It is a shame as he was not with us for long.

“Of course, there was criticism and we did not achieve the results we wanted.”

Hiddink will be Ballack’s fourth manager since Jose Mourinho signed him in 2006. But despite the upheavals, Ballack believes he can still achieve his ambitions at Stamford Bridge.

“I want to win the Champions League and play internationals – and I can do these at Chelsea,” he said.

“We were level with Manchester United until the end of last season and unlucky to lose the Champions League final on penalties.

“Mourinho was decisive in my moving to Chelsea but we have still been a top European club since his departure. “We proved it in making the Champions League final last year.”

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