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Avram Grant On Lampard


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Tue, 29th Apr 2008

Avram Grant believes Frank Lampard could play some part in tomorrow's Champions League semi-final second leg against Liverpool.

The midfielder has been given compassionate leave after the death of his mother Pat last week, but has returned to train with the side ahead of Wednesday's crucial game.

Speaking before training this afternoon, Grant was encouraged that the 29-year-old may be involved.

'He is doing everything, to be available for the game, and we know his situation, but we are before training so I cannot tell you,' the Israeli said.

'We always take the decisions after the last training, as you know at Chelsea sometimes we have injuries in the last training so we will wait and see after training.'

Lampard played in last week's 1-1 draw at Anfield having missed the two previous games, but has not been involved with the squad since then until now.

Our equaliser last week came via a John Arne Riise own goal in the last minute, and Grant responded to comments by Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez by stating that we earned our luck with a solid performance at Anfield.

'I respect Rafa Benitez, but I think we started the game very well, deserved one goal, and a penalty, and missed two big chances to score,' he reasoned.

'As always, we showed good character at the end of the game, were better and scored in the last minute. You can say what you want but it is 1-1.'

Grant also believes that his team will be buoyed by Saturday's 2-1 win over title rivals Manchester United, and insists that having fielded a strong team then will not impact his players tomorrow.

'I think on Saturday we wanted to show that we play like champions, we wanted to do that, but this is another game, a semi-final one game to the end, and we want to do it,' Grant began.

'I am very glad that we have a game that is important for us and we didn't need to rest players. Of course it is some kind of an advantage [for Liverpool, who rested nine players at Birmingham], but when we come to the game I don't think it will make a difference.'

He is also adamant that John Terry will be as reliable as ever, despite the threat of being suspended for the final, should he pick up a yellow card tomorrow.

'I think you know John as I know him, he will play like he always plays for the team,' Grant reassured supporters. 'He will play to win and I don't think he will think about the yellow card for the final.'

Didier Drogba was also a topic to be discussed, after Benitez's claims of a dossier on the forward.

'I will not speak about the players of Liverpool and what they do. [in the first game] the referee can give a penalty to us and a yellow card to Carragher that [would mean] he could not play tomorrow.

'Even their goal was offside with Babel, he didn't touch the ball but disturbed Makelele so the referee can whistle for offside. He [benitez] is trying to take the attention from this, it is good psychology but I don't think it will affect the referee. The referees in this level are a high level.'

Grant also commented on Drogba's disagreement with Michael Ballack on Saturday, when both players wanted to take a free-kick.

'We want to give entertainment to our supporters, so if you think it is funny it is good,' he smiled, before adding: 'We prefer players who want to take responsibility, it was between them, both thought he could score a goal so it's very good. I like that my players are competitive and this is part of it.'

Finally, as the cameras flashed in the Chelsea museum, the setting of Grant's pre-match media conference, he explained how it would feel should the side be successful tomorrow, giving him the opportunity to lead the side out in Moscow.

'I will be happy to do that,' he started. 'The dream of everybody is the Champions League, this is the top, and we came a long way, not an easy way to this game, so the target is the Champions League for sure.

'It is very important for the club. Chelsea wants to be a big club, and when you want to be a big club you need to win the Champions League. It is very important, and can also create history for Chelsea.'

Chelsea Plus will feature coverage of the game live, with audio commentary courtesy of Real Radio London.

Some interesting insights there. Either Grant is playing dumb to demonstrate Rafa's mind games have no effect on him, or he is just plain and simply dumb. Either way, he's had a few digs back at Benitez and I have to agree with him in parts.

Edited by BlueLion
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