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Chelsea revelling in feel-good factor
October 21, 2008 09:22 IST
Chelsea have another chance to show off their new expansive style on Wednesday when AS Roma visit Stamford Bridge in the Champions League.
In the short time that Luiz Felipe Scolari [Images] has been in charge, the Brazilian has gone a long way to doing what both his predecessors failed at -- which is to win over the neutrals.
Gone is the siege mentality adopted by Jose Mourinho during his incredibly successful time in charge of the club while the dour and brief Avram Grant era is a fast fading memory.
Scolari has been charm personified since taking one of the toughest jobs in British football and his side, flying at the top of the Premier League, are playing with a smile rather than ruthless efficiency.
The 5-0 victory at Middlesbrough on Saturday, completed with a long list of absentees, was a master class in passing and movement that sent alarm bells ringing around the country.
Midfielder Frank Lampard [Images], who finished one flowing move with a diving header, said it was the best performance for a long time, while skipper John Terry spoke of the different philosophy that Scolari has brought to west London [Images].
"In the first two years after Jose Mourinho took over we had a strong mentality where we'd go to places and shut up shop to get the three points," Terry said in the Daily Telegraph.
"Now we're eager to really push on and get that second goal and kill the game.
"It's very enjoyable to play under him."
The one blip so far this season for Chelsea was a difficult night in Romania in their last Group A clash when they could only draw 0-0 with newcomers CFR Cluj.
However, with Roma having already lost to Cluj, Chelsea can take command of their destiny with victory against the Italians who are smarting from a 4-0 thumping by Inter Milan at the weekend and who have bad memories of recent trips to England [Images].
Chelsea could have Petr Cech back in goal after he missed the Middlesbrough match with a leg injury while midfielder Joe Cole may also return.
Roma coach Luciano Spalletti is under pressure after his side's humiliation by Inter, their fourth defeat in seven league games this season.
The defence was badly exposed by Inter and Spalletti will be relieved to have first-choice centre backs Philippe Mexes and Christian Panucci [Images] back from suspension for the trip to London.
A long injury list is beginning to clear for last season's Serie A runners-up, with striker Francesco Totti [Images] starting against Inter after struggling for months to shake off the after-effects of knee surgery.
"Chelsea are strong but we can put this nasty defeat behind us. We must show everyone our real worth. This Roma is too ugly to be true," captain Totti told reporters.
A shock home defeat by unheralded Cluj in their Group A opener was soothed by a 3-1 win at Bordeaux last time out.
Chelsea: 1-Petr Cech; 35-Juliano Belletti, 33-Alex, 26-John Terry, 18-Wayne Bridge; 10-Joe Cole, 12-John Obi-Mikel, 8-Frank Lampard, 15-Florent Malouda; 21-Solomon Kalou, 39-Nicolas Anelka [Images]
AS Roma: 32-Doni; 3-Cicinho, 2-Christian Panucci, 5-Philippe Mexes, 17-John Arne Riise; 11-Rodrigo Taddei, 16-Daniele De Rossi, 8-Alberto Aquilani, 20-Simone Perrotta, 9-Mirko Vucinic; 10-Francesco Totti
Referee: Kyros Vassaras (Greece)
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