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Why Chelsea are singing the blues
If Avram Grant wants to stay at the Chelsea helm he needs to bring home some silverware this season. But are the Londoners really capable of winning the Premiership or Champions' League?
Tony Cascarino, 18 Mar 2008
Following Chelsea’s loss to Barnsley in the FA Cup, Avram Grant has admitted that he needs to win either the Premiership or the Champions’ League this season to save his job, but there’s a huge question mark over his ability to bring either of those trophies to Stamford Bridge. When you look at the League Cup Final defeat to Spurs, I think Grant made decisions that cost Chelsea the game.
If you’re going to play Nicolas Anelka on the left wing, and leave out Michael Ballack, Joe Cole and Ashley Cole, I think you’re making things difficult for yourself. I believe that, with Jose Mourinho as manager, Chelsea would not have lost to either Spurs or Barnsley. Without wishing to be a cheerleader for Mourinho, major managerial decisions are taken in difficult moments, and so far Grant has failed to answer the questions that have been asked of him.
That’s not to say that Grant can’t learn from his mistakes, because Chelsea did bounce back from the League Cup Final loss and win 4-0 at West Ham. But he’s going to have learn very quickly. Chelsea have got 20-25 players who are top quality, and with the amount of money the chairman has spent, you’ve got to be winning trophies. If Grant doesn’t do that, I think it’ll cost him his job.
With regard to Mourinho’s comment that he’s looking to “kill” Chelsea next season, he’s always had a fantastically big ego, but he’s always delivered. I think he knew there were certain people at the club who were knifing him in the back, which made his job impossible. In the end, even though the team were successful, I think he was happy to leave behind the internal strife.
Interestingly, Mourinho also said that he’s still on good terms with Roman Abramovich, and I don’t think that’s where the problem lay. I have been in the company of both Mourinho and Abramovich, and they got along fine. Personally, I don’t think Grant and his team would be at the club now if they were behind Mourinho.
Abramovich probably now regrets his decision to let Mourinho go. I don’t think things have been right behind the scenes at Chelsea for some time, and I suspect there’ll be huge changes at the club in the summer, regardless of whether they’re successful this season or not.