Premier League – Grant denies crisis talk


Manager Avram Grant has dismissed talk of a crisis at Chelsea following their shock quarter-final exit from the FA Cup at Barnsley and last month’s defeat by Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup final.

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Described by one tabloid newspaper as a “dead man walking”, the 52-year-old Israeli insisted he was still the right man to take Chelsea forward and bring trophies to Stamford Bridge.

“There is no crisis at Chelsea,” he said ahead of Wednesday’s home game against bottom-of-the-table Derby County.

“We have two games in hand on Arsenal and one on Manchester United and if we win them both we will be very close to them at the top of the table.

“Of course it was disappointing for everyone to lose the League Cup final and it was embarrassing to lose to Barnsley in the FA Cup. We are a proud club, with proud players, but cup matches are one-offs.

“We have done very well in the Premier League this season and very well in the Champions League. We want to win every game, but that is impossible.”

Chelsea are third in the title race, trailing leaders Arsenal by eight points but having played two matches less.

They are six points behind United, and have also qualified for the Champions League quarter-finals.

Chelsea have also lost only four of the 38 games played since Grant succeeded Jose Mourinho last September, but those have included league defeats by United and Arsenal.

Despite that fine set of statistics, Grant has come under increasing pressure because they have won only three of their last eight and been beaten in two high-profile cup matches.

Asked if he still expected to be manager next season, Grant replied: “I came here to take the team forward and the minute I believe I cannot do that, or if someone tells me that, then I will accept it.

“But I still believe in what I am doing. We have done a great job in the Premier League, a great job in the Champions League and of course we are all disappointed we lost to Barnsley in the FA Cup. But nothing has changed about our vision for this club and what we want to win.”

Grant said goalkeeper Petr Cech would not be fit for the visit of Derby but that striker Andriy Shevchenko would be included in the squad after missing the last five matches with an injury.

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