Crisis looms for Scolari

Luiz Felipe Scolari is only one defeat away from the first full-blown crisis of his reign at Chelsea - but the Brazilian insists he will not seek be plunging into the transfer market in search of a remedy.

As they surrendered meekly in a 3-0 defeat to Manchester United here on Sunday, the Londoners looked a pale shadow of the side that pushed Sir Alex Ferguson's side to the wire last season. Devoid of inspiration going forward and calamitously casual in defence, Scolari's class of 2009 suffer even more in comparison with the Chelsea sides that Jose Mourinho - who was in the VIP seats at Old Trafford - led to back-to-back Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006.

But Scolari remains convinced that Chelsea's current squad have sufficient reserves of quality to prevent United from claiming a third consecutive title. Asked if Sunday's defeat would force him to knock on Roman Abramovich's door with a request for transfer funds, Scolari's response was defiantly indignant. "More players? I don't want more players," he snorted. "I have very good players. Either we got to the top with these players or I go down."

Chelsea are far from out of the title battle but the fact that, under Scolari, they have earned just one point from their four meetings with United, Liverpool and Arsenal so far this season has done little to enhance the Brazilian's reputation.

He readily conceded that Chelsea could not afford to produce many more performances like Sunday's if they want to harbour serious ambitions of knocking United off their perch. "If we play three or four games as now (today), we're sure not to win (the title) but now it is the time for me and the players to think about our future," Scolari said. "Either we lose everything or we are men and we improve."

In the current context, Wednesday's FA Cup third round replay at Southend now looks like exactly the kind of encounter that Scolari could have done without.

The same could be said of Mourinho's presence at Old Trafford on Sunday although the Portuguese coach had good reason to be there with his current charges, Inter Milan, due to face United in the Champions League next month. Scolari shrugged off the presence of the man whose record he will inevitably be judged against. "Mourinho came here to watch Manchester United, that is normal," the Brazilian said. "Mourinho is an intelligent man. He didn't come here to tell me he loves me."