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Avram Grant must win titles

Guest Brian M

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Guest Brian M

Not my favourite footie writer, but he makes some fair points.

Alan Hansen: Avram Grant must win titles

By Alan Hansen

Avram Grant is discovering that when you are on a downward trend as a manager, people start to accuse you. If results are going really well, a defeat can be explained as just a blip - you could say that of Manchester United losing to Portsmouth but not, unfortunately, of Chelsea. Over the last four or five seasons Chelsea have been very solid, professional and hard to beat, but Barnsley really ruffled them and delivered the type of performance they could not withstand.

For Grant, you could look at that match and say that it is another nail in his coffin. The unfair aspect is that Grant's record as manager before Chelsea lost the Carling Cup final to Tottenham is very good.

Struggling: some of Avram Grant's decisions have been poor

He took over when they were in turmoil from Jose Mourinho leaving, and has been a steadying influence. But the other argument is that he has a glittering array of talent at his disposal - without a shadow of a doubt, the strongest squad of players in the Premier League. He had all the money he wanted in the January transfer window and bought Nicolas Anelka. When it has come to crunch, however, he has showed an inability to change things in the right direction, and not just his substitutions have been poor.

Again against Barnsley, his team selection was quite surprising: for example, playing Florent Malouda, who did not seem to relish a challenge or to want to get his foot in. But then, Grant is under the microscope. If you're a manager on an upward trend, such as Arsene Wenger, it won't matter what you do technically, but if you have just come in and do a couple of things wrong, people become suspicious of you. Those people then start to pick up on every little detail, and you can be sure they will not pick up on the positives - certainly not the terrific wins against West Ham and Olympiakos, because at Barnsley on Saturday the negatives were there to see.

Ultimately, Grant's future will boil down to trophies. Nobody is saying that managing a top-four club is easy; indeed, pressure is what success at the highest level is all about. So if Grant wins the Premier League or Champions League with Chelsea this season, he will still have a job. Those are the competitions all the clubs in the big four want to win.

Grant should remember that Jose Mourinho won both the Carling Cup and FA Cup last season, and that wasn't enough to save him. If Grant can win the Premier League all the trauma would go away. That trophy would alleviate the pressure and leave all the neutrals and critical commentators with nowhere to go.

At the moment you would hardly say that is likely to happen. And, even if Chelsea do not end up winning the title or the Champions League, Grant must still show that he is the man capable of taking them there. His major worry is not what the supporters might be saying, but what the players are thinking. If you're sitting in the dressing room not knowing if the manager, when under pressure, will make the right decisions on substitutions, you will have doubts. It does not help as a comparison that Mourinho made substitutions early and decisively.

A player has to have confidence that the manager will take the important steps when things are not going right on the pitch, and rumours coming out of Chelsea suggest that things are going badly. There are never any rumours from football grounds when all is well.

Why should being put out of the Carling Cup and the FA Cup be disastrous for Chelsea? It comes down to how they played. Grant might have been more secure had he got the tactics reasonably right, but against Tottenham in the Carling Cup final his substitutions failed. In a sense he is the victim of having 24 players from whom to choose; he could send out two teams and see them both finish in the top four or five.

So if Grant fails to win either the Premier League or the Champions League, it would surprise everyone if he was still in a job. On the other hand, if he won both it would be inconceivable that he would go; he would have done everything right.

People might claim Grant has a crisis of credibility but as Chelsea manager, so long as you win one of the big trophies, no one is interested in credibility.

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Guest Brian M

Grant pondering Chelsea overhaul

March 09, 2008

Several Chelsea stars are unsettled at Stamford Bridge.

The People says Blues boss Avram Grant is set to embark on a rebuilding programme amid speculation Frank Lampard, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Joe Cole want summer moves and Grant is drawing up a hit-list of players he wants to recruit.


Blues Av had enough

Last updated: 9th March 2008

Dickinson: not a Grant fan

He will be out in the summer if Chelsea have got any sense and he'll be replaced by a man of real stature and calibre.

Avram Grant does not have the stature to be Chelsea manager and will be out of a job in the summer, according to Matt Dickinson.

The Times writer told The Sunday Supplement that Grant was only given the job because he was a friend of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and his record in big games has proved he is not up to the task.

Grant has only lost four games since taking over from Jose Mourinho, but they include Premier League games against their title rivals Manchester United and Arsenal, the Carling Cup final against Tottenham and Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final against Barnsley.

And Dickinson feels those results will see the axe fall on the Israeli coach in the summer with a more high-profile name coming in.

He told The Supplement: "I just think they can't keep losing big games.

"I know people who think he deserves a chance keep throwing this statistic out that he's only lost four - but they are the ones that count, like the Carling Cup final, the FA Cup etc.

"He was an appointment because he was Roman's mate and his CV didn't remotely equate into the job of turning Chelsea into the greatest club in the world or whatever we're told they aspire to be.

"He will be out in the summer if Chelsea have got any sense and he'll be replaced by a man of real stature and calibre."


Henry Winter of the Daily Telegraph was in full agreement, insisting Chelsea should never have appointed Grant in the first place.

He feels Grant will leave the club in the summer and Chelsea should follow the lead of London rivals Tottenham by appointing a European coach with a proven track record.

Winter said: "Chelsea are a terrific club, they've got terrific fans, loads of money and outstanding players, but they don't have an outstanding coach and they have to address that

"I tell you what's interesting, five seconds after the final whistle on Saturday you heard one thing from the Chelsea fans: 'there's only one Jose Mourinho'.

"Everyone wondered about the appointment of Grant. The press conference at the time was absolute carnage - you almost had all the journalists chanting 'you don't know what you're doing' at the Chelsea board. It was a mistake in the first place.

"What has embarrassed them is that Juande Ramos has come in at Spurs and although they've had some wobbles in the league, he has been terrific and outwitted Grant at Wembley.

"I think they should have gone for someone of his calibre."

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