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Avram Grant Lacks Calibre

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Avram Grant lacks calibre of a true leader

By Henry WinterIf the calibre of Chelsea's coach, Avram Grant, remains under legitimate scrutiny, the character of many of his players remains incontestable. If Chelsea build on their fortuitous first-leg draw at Liverpool to reach Moscow, Grant would look out of place in a European Cup final. Petr Cech, John Terry and Frank Lampard certainly would not.

<LI>Scepticism has dogged Grant from the moment he was appointed Jose Mourinho's successor. His demeanour has been analysed, with the general verdict of his resembling a bloodhound who has lost a favourite bone. Grant has also been called to account over his substitutions, particularly the costly withdrawal of Joe Cole at White Hart Lane.

sfnche124get.jpgMen in the middle: Frank Lampard and Chelsea manager Avram GrantThe focus on Grant's doleful features can be dismissed as an irrelevance, as if the dugout were really a catwalk. The charge that Grant makes only poor tactical adjustments mid-match is not supported by events at home to Arsenal, where his introduction of Nicolas Anelka and switch to 4-4-2 turned the game, and then Tuesday's insertion of Salomon Kalou. Grant was rewarded when Kalou crossed to trigger John Arne Riise's moment of horror, his own goal cancelling out Dirk Kuyt's strike in a 1-1 draw.

However, the most significant criticism of Grant is broader: his employment in charge of a leading European club is a snub to all those better-qualified managers, like Mark Hughes and David Moyes, hungrily and expertly climbing their profession's ladder. Hughes and Moyes rise through hard graft. Grant has acquired one of the top jobs mainly through being a friend of the owner, Roman Abramovich. It is a case of who he knows, not what he knows. That's wrong.

As ever with discussions of public figures, serious points can be lost in all the heat, hysteria, and controversial press conferences. If English and European football is to take coaching seriously, it must hope that managers of substance collect the glittering prizes, not men like Grant with contacts in high places.

It is as difficult to feel respect for Grant as it is to find any admiration for the sons of George Gillett and Tom Hicks, who enjoy the privilege of sitting on the Liverpool board simply through an accident of birth. That's wrong.

uxchamps3d.jpgAlan Smith analysisSo, if Chelsea do continue past the bruised plaything of Gillett and Hicks, reaching the final in Moscow, there can be little compunction to laud Grant, and every incentive to salute the resolute spirit of Chelsea stalwarts like Cech, Terry and Lampard.

Cech should have his own column in The Lancet, chronicling the latest injury sustained in preventing a ball from going in a net. On having his face stitched up after challenging Tal Ben Haim in training, the goalkeeper immediately talked with pride of how he stopped the shot as his skin was being peeled by a stray boot.

An intelligent individual, Cech also possesses an incredibly determined streak. His technical skills are superb, noted in the way he spread himself to deny Fernando Torres in the first half at Anfield. His reflexes are as quick as anyone's, seen to Liverpool's deep frustration when he pushed over Steven Gerrard's volley near full-time. Cech kept Chelsea in the tie.

Like Cech, Terry makes light of injuries, resembling the Monty Python knight whose desire to keep fighting remains unaffected by the loss of each limb. If Terry's bodycheck on Javier Mascherano revealed the occasional cynical side to Chelsea's game, it cannot hide the centre-half's importance to the Blues' cause. Terry is the glue that keeps Chelsea together.

Arguably the performance of the night, in terms of sheer guts, came from Lampard. Knowing how gravely ill his mother was, Lampard still went out and delivered a solid display, admittedly far from his best, but courageous in the circumstances. Some of his passing, particularly in a 10-minute purple patch in the second half, will have reminded the watching Fabio Capello of Lampard's capabilities.<LI>

The contributions of Cech, Terry and Lampard contrasted with a disappointing shift from Didier Drogba. A stronger manager than Grant would get a grip of his leading centre-forward and tell him to stop rolling around, which even Chelsea supporters must now find embarrassing.

If Chelsea are going to grasp a trophy this season, they need Drogba back on his feet and at his imposing best. If he is leaving in the summer, as appears likely, the striker should start pushing up his price and wages with some shop-window pyrotechnics, beginning against Manchester United on Saturday.

Henry Winter, Telegraph.

Interesting piece, and generally spot on. Interesting as well as it proves journalists read our forum. hes nicked the bit about Cechs injury response being likethe Monty Python Knight from one of my posts. Thats alright Henry, just credit it next time.

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Couldnt agree more with Henry Winter. The Likes of Hughes and Moyes are putting in the effort, the groundwork, to build their careers. Whereas Grunt simply gets a little lift up from his "chum"

The more I think about it, The more I would love it if Abramovich swallowed hispride, fucked Grunt off, and offered the job to Hughes. I think Hughes would walk over broken glass for it. Top Man :smiliecap1:

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Interesting. Realistic and somewhat praising article. Didn't see that coming.

But that's spot on. I agree with what he says. No way would an average Israeli coach get a job in Chelsea for nothing. Abramovich should keep relationships and business (if that's how he wants to call Chelsea) apart... Or even if he doesn't, then the relationship with Grant isn't making a profit nor reputation to him.

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Couldnt agree more with Henry Winter. The Likes of Hughes and Moyes are putting in the effort, the groundwork, to build their careers. Whereas Grunt simply gets a little lift up from his "chum"

The more I think about it, The more I would love it if Abramovich swallowed hispride, fucked Grunt off, and offered the job to Hughes. I think Hughes would walk over broken glass for it. Top Man :smiliecap1:

I really like Winter as a journalist and have for some time and his are usually the first reports I read in the broadsheets. I've had the general feeling for some time he does not rate Grant really that much but at the same time he doesn't go on some rant about Grant's more obvious superficial deficiencies which are generally immaterial in the general scheme of things but highlights points he feels matter.

I think he is wrong about the major plank in his argument though against Grant - the fact Roman has employed a mate and he shouldn't have done.

You could argue that is exactly what you need to be to get a job at Chelsea these days - Roman's "mates" abound from Arnesen, Kenyon, Buck through to Grant.

Mourinho learned the hard way that disagreeing with Roman and falling out with him was not the right thing ultimately to do - to get on it's clear you need to be on Roman's buddy list - and Grant is well on it.

So you could argue he is exactly the kind of manager Chelsea needs to keep things running well. :rolleyes:

Edited by pluto
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Avram is not qualified and yet he made it almost where Jose did ( except of the team spirit and CC Final)

Lampard showed something we dont usualy see in the world of football,and that is extreme loyalty to the club.Now i am certain he is not leaving Chelsea in the summer and hopefully ever.

As for JT....i only have one thing to say ''JT is superman JT is superman''!!!

Drogba should realy try harder it seem's he doesn't give a shit anymore,sad really a top striker tough.

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