Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari heads into his side’s opening Champions League fixture against Bordeaux insisting he doesn’t feel under pressure to win Europe’s top club prize. Just four months after Chelsea beat a weary retreat from Moscow in the aftermath of their Champions League final defeat against Manchester United, the Blues return to European action at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
Chelsea v Girondins Bordeaux
Suspended: Didier Drogba (Chelsea) one match, Mathieu Chalme (Girondins Bordeaux) one match, Benoit Tremoulinas (Girondins Bordeaux) first of three matches.
Panathinaikos v Inter Milan
Suspended: Nicolas Burdisso (Inter Milan) one match
Werder Bremen v Anorthosis Famagusta
Suspended: Sinisa Dobrasinovic (Anorthosis Famagusta) one match
Basel v Shakhtar Donetsk
Suspended: Behrang Safari (Basel) one match
PSV Eindhoven v Atletico Madrid
Suspended: Maximiliano Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid) one match, Mariano Pernia (Atletico Madrid) one
John Terry and company would love to reach next year’s final in Rome and avenge that heart-breaking penalty shoot-out loss, but Scolari refuses to attach special importance to the competition because he knows he has to deliver success on all fronts to satisfy owner Roman Abramovich. "The pressure for me and the players is not only for the Champions League," Scolari said.
"It is for the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Premier League — we want to win all of the games. For me, the Champions League is not more important than the League Cup. It is important but it is not more important than a league game.We need to think game by game. If I say the Champions League is the most important then my players will ask why they need to bother in the other games.
"I respect the Champions League but all games are important. If you think a game is not important you will lose it before it starts."
If Terry had converted his spot-kick in the final, he would be leading the Blues into the Bordeaux match as champions of Europe. Instead the Chelsea captain slipped and his miss allowed United to snatch the trophy.
Terry left the pitch in tears but Scolari, who watched the match on television, is convinced the England defender has shrugged off the painful memories of that nightmare moment. "When he missed that penalty I was sad because I like him. But it was just one shot in one game and life continues," Scolari said. "I had always liked John as a player. Now I like him even more than before. We talk every day."
Numancia give Real Madrid a fright at Bernabeu
Madrid: Promoted Numancia twice took the lead before falling 4-3 to champions Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in the Primera Liga on Sunday. The newcomers from Soria, who beat Barcelona 1-0 on the opening day of the season, took an early lead through Juan Carlos Moreno. Jose Barkero restored their advantage just after Guti had levelled for Real.
Gonzalo Higuain, Rafael van der Vaart on his league debut, and an own-goal from Domingo Cisma gave the home side what appeared to be a comfortable 4-2 halftime lead. Sevilla are fourth after surviving a seven-goal thriller to beat promoted Sporting Gijon 4-3 at the Sanchez Pizjuan on Saturday.