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Friday, August 28, 2015

Sunday, September 23, 2007
Sports

Barclays English Premier League

'Blues will be exciting'

Avram Grant believes he can succeed where Jose Mourinho failed by turning Chelsea into the Premier League's great entertainers.

Grant, who will take charge of Chelsea for the first time at Manchester United on Sunday, has set out his mission statement following his appointment as Mourinho's successor and unsurprisingly he was keen to emphasise a commitment to attacking football.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich made it clear to Mourinho that he wanted the team to play the kind of fantasy football that made him fall in love with the game when he watched Manchester United's famous 4-3 victory over Real Madrid in 2003.

When Mourinho responded that he would decide the side's style and it would remain cautious, the Portuguese coach's days were numbered.

Former Israel manager Grant seems keener to agree with Abramovich's philosophy.

"I have a reputation of attacking football," Grant said. "When I was with Israel we were always first or second of top scorers.

"I love attacking football. Football has become entertainment, more than before.

"You see how the top clubs are playing. You can't play good football all the time, our ambition is to play positive football and win some titles."

Grant went to great lengths to play down suggestions that he was unqualified to manage a club of Chelsea's stature.

He has never managed outside Israel and has only been in charge of six games in the Champions League, the tournament that Abramovich regards as his holy grail.

But Grant is convinced he can make a success of a job he never expected to get.

He said: "It has all been a big surprise but I am a football coach. I know I don't have experience in the English league as a coach but I know the league very well.

"I visited all the training grounds of all the big coaches, more than five or six times a year. Nothing can surprise me.

"Normally people don't expect you to be successful. I remember when Arsene Wenger came to England and they said Arsene who?

"I don't want to compare to him but he did a great job. It's the same when Fabio Capello started as youth coach."

Grant will get the sternest possible examination of his credentials at Old Trafford on Sunday.

He acknowledges Chelsea's clash with the Premier League champions is a daunting start, but he intends to go for a victory.

"To play against Manchester United is always a difficult game, but I will not change my way, we will try to win," he said.

"I know there is possible and impossible. It's not easy but it's not impossible."

Chelsea insist Grant's appointment is permanent, but there are degrees of permanency in football.

Even the Israeli admits he only has a limited amount of time to prove he can do the job, but he will be heartened to hear the club's PLC chairman Bruce Buck insist they have no list of potential big-name managers in case he fails to make an immediate impact.

"We are not talking to anybody now," Buck said. "There is no shortlist. We are not thinking about who the next manager is.

"Obviously we know what good coaches are out there but we are not talking about who will be the next coach if there needs to be a next coach.

"We have had several enquiries from people interested in the job but we are not responding to any of these in terms of having discussions.

"Avram is our coach and he has the board's full support. We are looking forward and we're looking for some good results."

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