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Scolari satisfied despite draw
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Luiz Felipe Scolari shrugged off the frustration of Chelsea's 1-1 draw against Tottenham by insisting his side is already in title-winning form.

The Blues saw their 100 percent start go up in smoke in Sunday's London derby at Stamford Bridge as Spurs striker Darren Bent canceled out Juliano Belletti's first half goal.

But Scolari is still satisfied with seven points from his first three matches and the Chelsea coach believes the Premier League trophy will be back at the Bridge in May if it maintains that form.

Chelsea's French Striker Nicolas Anelka (left) vies with Tottenham's English defender Ledley King during their Premier League match at Stamford Bridge in London on Sunday.

Chelsea's French Striker Nicolas Anelka (left) vies with Tottenham's English defender Ledley King during their Premier League match at Stamford Bridge in London on Sunday. [AFP] 

"Seven points so far, if we are still making this total at the end of the season, surely we are first," Scolari said. "Follow the last two or three seasons. With 75 percent of the points you win."

Bent's equalizer was harsh on Chelsea, which dominated for long periods, but Scolari's side paid the price for failing to turn its possession into goals.

With Didier Drogba injured and Nicolas Anelka a subdued figure, Chelsea lacked a cutting edge and, frustrated by Tottenham's massed defense, it resorted to hopeful long balls several times in the closing stages.

That lack of composure frustrated Scolari, who made a point of telling his players they must keep passing at all times.

"We don't have tall players to use the high ball," he said. "What happens is they feel the pressure of the fans. They want to win and it is difficult to think inside the pitch.

"After the game I told the players a draw is OK but we need to try to work the ball. If they make a mistake it is not a problem. With high balls I win one time and lose eight."

Anelka should have opened the scoring in the 26th minute when Belletti's pass disected the Spurs defense but the France striker shot wildly over.

Michael Essien went much closer moments later as he surged forward in typcially dynamic fashion before rattling the crossbar with a fierce drive.

Spurs finally cracked after 28 minutes. Deco swung in a low corner and, when Bent made a hash of his attempted clearance, Belletti was on hand to volley past Gomes.

But incredibly the visitors went in level at halftime after Bent took advantage of a rare misstep from the Blues in the 45th minute.

Frank Lampard nipped in to tackle Luka Modric in midfield and Ricardo Carvalho failed to close down Bent quickly enough. The Spurs striker pounced on the loose ball, burst in the penalty area and slipped his shot under Petr Cech.

After losing its first two games, Spurs finally showed some resilience to grind out a point. Once again Ramos' side were a confused mess going forward, but at least the Spurs boss could take comfort from the way his side refused to surrender.

With Russia striker Roman Pavlyuchenko on board and ready for his debut after the international break, Ramos believes this result could kick-start Tottenham's season.

"Let's hope this result can ignite the season. It was a great performance and result and let's hope it is positive ahead," he said.

"We needed something to kick-start the season, to lift spirits and give the players confidence for what lies ahead. With the arrival of Pavlyuchenko and anyone else who joins at the last minute we'll have more options on the field.

"He will bring an awful lot to the side. All his qualities are well known. He is a player with world-renowned qualities, he has achieved a lot with his national side and the biggest thing we hope is that he settles in quickly.

"He's come in from a different country and it is important he settles in to this type of football as soon as possible."

(AFP via China Daily September 2, 2008)

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