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Kev123

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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/col...icle4895063.ece

Chelsea's sexy football thaws coldest heartsMatt Dickinson, Chief Sports Correspondent

Perhaps it is the flu bug. Or the heavy medication. Either way, it is a strange sensation when you find your cynical journalist’s heart thawing at the sight of Chelsea racing to victory.

That may sound an admission of a previous anti-Chelsea bias, confirming all the suspicions of the press office, but all we ever wanted was the club to employ a little charm on their way to global domination. There is every sign of that being the case under the management of Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Think of Chelsea over the past five years and, as much as trophies, your mind turns to rucks, plots, money and Peter Kenyon. All that abrasiveness came flooding back last night in the reappearance on our television screens of José Mourinho. “I’m not going to change — why would I?†he told BBC’s Inside Sport from his new home at Inter Milan. “If I came here as a ‘John Nobody’ with nothing in his pocket, then I would have to adapt, I would have to try and do something. But I am not a John Nobody.†Good to see he has not lost any of his humility.

Mourinho is an exceptional manager and one day it may be fun to have him back playing with fire in the Premier League, but the idea that we should miss him has been eroded since Scolari was appointed in the summer and it was surely banished as his Chelsea team took apart Aston Villa at the weekend.

Using the same system as Mourinho — 4-3-3 — and mostly the very same players, Scolari has Chelsea knocking the ball around like Arsenal. Or, given the manager’s background, we should probably say like Brazil. Ashley Cole has rediscovered the form that elevated him among the best left backs on the planet a few years ago now that he no longer has to regard the halfway line as an electric fence. And while the wingers are still required to work back, they do not expect a haranguing if they gamble and are caught upfield. Small adjustments, perhaps, but symptomatic of a wider transformation.

We wait to see if this liberation will secure trophies, and Mourinho was never slow in putting his medals on the table. But Scolari’s record is impressive enough to suggest that he is not just opening up the team for the fun of it or to please Roman Abramovich, the club’s owner.

It is a stop-start process, with a functional performance in the Champions League only a few days earlier — drawing 0-0 away to CFR Cluj — but that is to be expected. Scolari’s big signing, Deco, has been injured and, of Sunday’s team, only José Bosingwa and Nicolas Anelka (a stand-in for Didier Drogba) did not work under Mourinho. The manager will make further adjustments. What is clear is his intent.

At a club who still aspire to break even, or so they say, and yet remain a long way from doing so, winning new friends, as well as matches, does matter. And good press, or at the very least a lack of hostile coverage, is flowing their way.

If that makes a change, there has never been an agenda, simply exasperation at the way the club have been run from the initial phase when Chelsea signed players like children collecting football stickers, to the years under Mourinho when, at times, the rules were for everyone else.

Mourinho served his purpose in making Chelsea a force to be reckoned with, but he also left Abramovich wondering how you can spend more than £500 million and still lack flair.

We also had Kenyon, the chief executive, pronouncing a target of winning the Champions League twice inside ten years, forgetting that such a feat has proved beyond Barcelona. It was the sort of highly presumptuous talk that made Chelsea seem less a sporting project, built on hopes and dreams, than the ultimate exercise to discover how quickly you can buy success.

Perhaps it is another healthy sign that at the Leaders in Football conference, which starts today at Stamford Bridge, representing the club is not Kenyon but the eminently sensible Bruce Buck, the chairman, and Frank Arnesen, the sporting director, neither of whom is likely to talk about “painting the world blueâ€.

Maybe Kenyon has decided to keep a lower profile since, to universal cringing, he led the players up to collect their medals at the Champions League final in May. We wish.

Abramovich’s riches will define Chelsea for many more years, but under new management they do seem to have cast off the sense of entitlement. Scolari is intent on providing some swagger, but only on the pitch.

Events will intrude and the Brazilian is not a man to hold back under fire. Perhaps it is only a matter of days or weeks before John Terry is haranguing an official. A visit from Liverpool looms, which, given Chelsea’s injuries, may put them under pressure.

Perhaps Chelsea will fray at the edges, as all the great competitors can. Controversy may be round the next corner, but when a club start to offer thrilling, joyous football, you can forgive them just about anything.

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Good article - thanks for posting. For all the positives, though, it does simply reinforce the feeling that the press have been hell bent on slating us and undermining us because they just don't like the whole 'project'. Even if there is some justification in disliking Kenyon and all he stands for, this approach to covering our club has been totally lacking in objectivity since the day RA, and a year later JM arrived.

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Why did Kenyon lead the players up to get the medals? Every time I'm reminded of that spectacle I feel nauseous.

I would like to say he was at the back of the manu players and not at the front of ours, but we would have needed to win it for that to happen, bollocks

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