Deco seals ugly win

Chelsea maintain their 100 per cent start to the season thanks to a stunning free kick from Deco to give them a 1-0 win at Wigan.
The Portuguese playmaker Deco followed up his goal last week against Portsmouth with another goal against Wigan.
The Portuguese playmaker Deco followed up his goal last week against Portsmouth with another goal against Wigan.

It was Rafa Benitez who said recently that he wanted Liverpool to win ugly as that could make the difference in winning trophies. On this showing, Chelsea know how to do that and that could prove crucial come next May. After destroying Portsmouth in their opener last week, this performance disappointingly failed to match that by a long distance. Patchy replaced panache, and while the owner Roman Abramovich might not be satisfied Luiz Felipe Scolari was as Chelsea enjoyed a second straight win. "The result was more important than the way we played," he said. "I congratulate the players: they fought. People say Chelsea will win the league easily because they think we will believe this and then relax. The players and I know this and I don't want to play these [mind] games." It was Deco who provided that magical moment in only the fourth minute. After Wigan's No 1 keeper Chris Kirkland had pulled out with a back injury in the warm up, Mike Pollitt had barely had chance to digest the fact he was playing - his first league start since last November - when he was beaten. Lee Cattermole needlessly handled to give away a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the box. Up stepped Deco, whipping in an effort that curled over the wall and the keeper's despairing dive. "He does that in training every day," said Deco's teammate Ashley Cole. "It was a bit of magic and that's what's going to help us win the league. This was about stopping them and getting three points." Wigan have now lost both their opening games, but the manager Steve Bruce felt his side merited at least a point. "I thought we deserved something," he said. "It was a wonder strike from Deco, but they haven't done much against us after that." Scolari will now hope to add some more creativity and class in attack with Robinho's arrival from Real Madrid this week. That deal has been smoothed by Andriy Shevchenko's return to AC Milan after a forgettable two seasons. "I'm happy. For me, it is as if I've won the Champions League,"he said, ahead of today's medical. "There were some complications, but now that everything is resolved I am really happy." Chelsea go on top of the table with six points - three ahead of their London rivals Arsenal who lost 1-0 at Fulham on Saturday. akhan@thenational.ae

Published: August 24, 2008 04:00 AM

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