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30 Jul, 2020 18:43

'Abramovich would have sent me to Siberia': Former Chelsea boss claims Russian owner's expectations in Premier League have dropped

'Abramovich would have sent me to Siberia': Former Chelsea boss claims Russian owner's expectations in Premier League have dropped

Avram Grant, who led Chelsea to second in the Premier League and the Champions League final in 2008, has suggested that Roman Abramovich would have banished him had he led the club to the fourth-place finish they had this season.

Grant has praised current Blues boss Frank Lampard for guiding the club to the final UEFA Champions League qualification position this season, qualifying his support by adding that Russian owner Abramovich would have exiled him for finishing in the same position during his tenure.

During his sole season in charge, the former Israel manager only missed out on a historic double by two points to Manchester United at the top of the league and on penalties against the Red Devils in the UEFA Champions League final in Moscow.

"Compared to the requirement of Roman Abramovich, if I told him some years ago that fourth place would be good for him, he would probably have sent me to Siberia," Grant reflected, speaking to Stats Perform.

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"In my team at Chelsea there were a lot of leaders. I thought [Michael] Ballack would be a good coach, Didier [Drogba], John Terry, because they had good personalities and a lot of knowledge about football.

"Of course, having the knowledge is not the same – you have to pass the knowledge to players, you have to deal with the owner, the media, you have to deal with the supporters.

"But at the end of the day, you depend on the performance on the pitch – it's results, especially at the top."

At the time, Manchester City were only beginning the extravagant spending that has seen them dominate the Premier League in recent years and current champions Liverpool were seven years away from appointing Jurgen Klopp, the coach responsible for their all-conquering resurgence.

Chelsea are hoping to challenge for the title again next season after buying the likes of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner since their two-window transfer ban ended in January. But Grant accepts that rookie coach Lampard has faced some tough challenges in his first year in charge.

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"I think it's a good season, especially compared to how it began, without being allowed to buy players," he said.

"Because of the situation before, I think it's a good place. For Frank, I think it's a big achievement. It's his first year as a coach in the Premier League.

"Of course, he was a player with a lot of experience, but you cannot compare a player to a manager, and I think he's managed the team very well.

"There were a lot of young players and he knew how to play them, how to give them a rest and when to push them. It's a good base for the future, I was very pleased with his performance."

Grant had a good relationship with Lampard the player before being sacked as coach following the 6-5 defeat in the shootout in Moscow.

"He was always a leader," said Grant. 

"When you spoke with him, he had a different view about football."

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