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I wouldn't have joined Chelsea if I had known Vialli's methods SAYS BRIAN LAUDRUP.

BRIAN LAUDRUP has launched a stinging attack on Chelsea boss Gianluca Vialli and his squad system, claiming he was never told about it before he signed.

"I would have thought twice about signing for Chelsea if I had known," he said.

The Danish striker arrived on a free transfer from Glasgow Rangers during the summer, but has been in and out of the side.

And now Laudrup admits his patience with Vialli's rotation system has been stretched so thin it is close to snapping.

"When I first discussed terms with Chelsea in February, nobody told me about this system - if I'd known about it I would have brought it up," he said.

"I feel from my own point of view that I don't like it. Whenever I play and feel as though I have done well, I don't know if I will play the next game.

"I can be man of the match in one game and then not even on the bench the next.

"It is a bad system - what I need to maintain a good level of fitness is to play all the time.

"I might play well for 90 minutes and then not play another game for the next couple of weeks - I don't like the system of rotation.

"I missed the pre-season matches and the only way I could come back to full fitness was in European matches and the Premier League."

The ex-AC Milan star is one of five high-profile forwards jostling for only two starting berths in the Chelsea side this season. Norwegian hit- man Tore Andre Flo has already voiced his disapproval of the policy and, with Laudrup also expressing his dissatisfaction, Vialli is sure to take notice. Because Laudrup has no doubt that if Chelsea continue to tinker with the line-up every week, they will win nothing this season.

Laudrup is concerned that his lack of match practice will not only affect his performances, but also his match-fitness.

He claims Vialli does not allow him to play reserve games for fear of picking up an injury, but the player is worried that his sharpness will fade as a result.

Laudrup's biggest worry, however, is that the side will never be able to develop a lethal strike partnership because the same two strikers rarely play consecutive games.

Chelsea have not yet fired on all cylinders.

On Saturday against Charlton, Gianfranco Zola and Pierluigi Casiraghi looked hugely impressive.

But Laudrup believes that, no matter how well you play, you still cannot be guaranteed a first-team place under the current regime. He thinks Vialli is underestimating the strengths of his own men and far too often picks his sides based around whatever threat the opposition poses.

He cannot understand this, given the reputations and records of the players he has in his own side.

Laudrup suffered similarly when he was at AC Milan.

That was where the idea for a superstar squad system was first put into place, and millions of pounds' worth of unused talent sat in the stands every week.

He thinks that the sooner Vialli starts picking the same starting line- up on a consistent basis, the sooner Chelsea can consider themselves genuine title contenders.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:McGUINNESS, Mark
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 20, 1998
Words:533
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