Perfect Start for Scolari as Blues Turn on the Style; Blues Brothers: New- Boy Deco ( Far Left) Is an Instant Hero after Sealing Chelsea's - Win. Joe Cole (Top) Beats David James to Open the Scoring before Nicolas Anelka (Left) and Frank Lampard (Bottom), with a Penalty, Put Chelsea in Control in the First Half
Byline: MICHAEL HART
Portsmouth 0 Chelsea 4
CHELSEA slipped back into the old routine with the minimum of fuss but one or two new faces in a fresh cast list suggested that this might be the season when they finally win friends and influence people with the quality of their football.
'Big' Phil Scolari, brought in at great cost to upgrade the entertainment package at Stamford Bridge, made it clear from day one that his Chelsea team would be challenging Manchester United and Arsenal in the style stakes.
The 4-0 demolition of Portsmouth represented a significant change of direction at Chelsea and, for those overdosing on the Olympics, provided a golden glow on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season.
Scolari, back in club football after seven successful seasons with Brazil and Portugal, has promised to inject a little 'samba football' into Chelsea's game plan and the evidence yesterday suggests that the players are embracing his ideas with enthusiasm.
Deco, the ?8million signing from Barcelona, added his invention and wit to a midfield that is unrivalled for power and resilience. The little Brazilian-born
Portuguese is one of those new faces who will have the terrace faithful wreathed in smiles, just as Zola once did, but there is no doubt that, at 32, he will rely heavily on the stamina and discipline of players like Frank Lampard and Michael Ballack.
Bright and inventive with a delicate touch and wonderful passing range, Deco could be one of the major figures of the new season, though I suspect he will require the full support of the team's big guns when the pitches are heavy on cold February nights.
Realistically, Lampard's decision to commit himself to the club for a further five years is at least as relevant as Deco's arrival and we saw why yesterday when Harry Redknapp's team simply failed to get to grips with the physical superiority of Chelsea's midfield. If Chelsea can win the physical battles this season, Deco can be relied upon to provide the little entertainment cameos that had owner Roman Abramovich in back-slapping mood yesterday. …