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Monday, April 07, 2008

Latest Chelsea And Man U News



Southgate: We had United scared

Gareth Southgate believes Middlesbrough were more than worthy of a point when holding Manchester United to a 2-2 draw on Sunday afternoon.
Afonso Alves scored his first goals for the North East club as Boro frustrated the title hopefuls and even went 2-1 up against United at The Riverside.
Wayne Rooney’s equaliser reigned Boro in somewhat but the draw still represented a superb result for a club that has also taken four points off Arsenal and held Liverpool this season.

“We had them on the back foot, we responded really well to going behind and right until the end we still created chances and we tried to push forward, so I am very proud of the way we played,” said Southgate on Setanta Sports News.
“We might have got more out of it on another day.
“When you play against them you expect the goals you concede to be world class goals and they weren’t today, they were soft goals really from our point of view.
“But that is being very critical because the players have given everything and have played with some real quality today.”

“We might have got more out of it on another day.
“When you play against them you expect the goals you concede to be world class goals and they weren’t today, they were soft goals really from our point of view.
“But that is being very critical because the players have given everything and have played with some real quality today.”

Gareth Southgate was delighted with a 2-2 draw at home to Manchester United yesterday, which leaves Middlesbrough nine points clear of the relegation zone, and played down his touchline spat with Sir Alex Ferguson, during which both managers jabbed their fingers at each other.

Southgate plays down spat

“I was complaining about one of the decisions and he was saying it was justified,” the Middlesbrough manager said. “We were actually talking about different decisions. It’s important I don’t back down in those situations, but I’ve got complete respect for him.”
Ferguson served notice last night on United’s rivals that his side will not relinquish their title. The draw gave United a three-point lead over Chelsea and while their performance was mixed, the manager pronounced himself pleased with their recovery from a 2-1 deficit. “The nature of this club is that we never give in and that’s a great quality to have,” Ferguson said. “That sends out a signal to other players and fans that we won’t give in. It could prove to be a vital point.”
Already lacking Nemanja Vidic for Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final, second leg against AS Roma at Old Trafford, Ferguson saw Rio Ferdinand, his other centre half, leave the field with a foot injury. “Hopefully it is not serious with Rio,” Ferguson said.


Zico: Chelsea more defensive under Grant

Fenerbahce coach Zico says Chelsea have become more defensive under Avram Grant.
The Brazilian legend told the Observer: "Chelsea became a more defensive team after Jose Mourinho left. They used to know exactly what they wanted. They used to mark in the opponents' half of the pitch, apply pressure and show high levels of confidence. Now I see Chelsea more restricted to defence, waiting for the moment to counter-attack. They are obviously still very dangerous, because of the quality of their players."

Steve Clarke ready to walk away from Chelsea

Steve Clarke, Chelsea’s assistant first-team coach, has become so disillusioned with life at Stamford Bridge that he wants to pursue his own managerial career at the end of the season, The Times has learnt. Chelsea’s managerial team could be in for quite a shake-up because the rumblings of discontent felt towards Avram Grant, the first-team coach, are such that several other long-serving members of the coaching staff will also consider their positions if Grant remains in charge next season.
Clarke was given a huge pay rise to £900,000 a year to convince him to stay after the departure of José Mourinho in September last year forced the Scot to consider his future, but the improved contract has not eradicated all his concerns.
It is understood that he is ready to end his association with Chelsea, which stretches back 21 years, by allowing his name to be circulated among Coca-Cola Championship clubs at the end of the season. Such is Clarke’s desire for a fresh start that he is willing to accept a substantial pay cut to secure a manager’s job elsewhere.
Clarke’s renewed case of itchy feet will represent a considerable blow to Chelsea because he is well respected by all the senior players and is the only member of the management team to be genuinely popular with the fans. The former Scotland defender joined Chelsea from St Mirren in 1987 and went on to make 421 appearances, the fifth highest total in the club’s history, later acting as a scout and youth-team coach before he was appointed assistant manager by Mourinho.


Although Clarke has no personal problem with Grant, the appointment of Henk ten Cate as joint assistant first-team coach alongside Clarke has not helped the situation and he has yet to develop a close working relationship with the Dutchman.
Clarke will remain loyal to Grant until the end of the season, despite misgivings over some of the Israeli’s methods, which are shared by others at the club. There is a widespread belief that training sessions are too often conducted on the hoof, whereas in the past they were planned several weeks in advance, while others have criticised Grant’s team meetings for lacking detail, in contrast to the meticulous preparation of Mourinho.
Grant has also had to put up with his authority being publicly questioned by senior players, with Michael Ballack and Frank Lampard indulging in mild shows of dissent after being substituted in the matches against Middlesbrough and Fenerbahçe in the past week, but he was in a defiant mood yesterday before Chelsea’s Barclays Premier League match away to Manchester City today.


Grant has begun preparing for next season, although his plans are likely to be radically altered if Chelsea are knocked out of the Champions League next week by Fenerbahçe, who lead their quarter- final 2-1 after the first leg in Istanbul on Wednesday.
“What assurance can the club give me?” Grant said. “A contract for ten years? I need to do my job. On the football front I can tell you what I’ll do at Chelsea next week, next season and in two years’ time. Maybe even more. I have my ideas and my plans, but in my private life I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. We’re planning for next season already. There is a vision for the club and it’s very clear. We want to get better over many years.”
Grant did concede that his team are more vulnerable than Mourinho’s Chelsea, although he was adamant that he would not abandon his attacking principles, despite the defeat in Istanbul.
“Maybe we’re more vulnerable, yes,” Grant said. “I’ve not done the statistics about how many leads were lost last season, but when you go to a different way sometimes you pay for this. But I prefer what happened on Wednesday. It was not the time to close the game as we were dominating, so I will not close the game to win 1-0. We looked like scoring a second goal so it was not the time to close down the game. Most of the times we did that this year we won the games.”

'Puppet master' Grant - Danny Fullbrook

Chelsea might be second in the Premier League and in the quarter-finals of the Champions League - but manager Avram Grant is having virtually no impact, according to Danny Fullbrook.
The Blues moved within two points of leaders Manchester United on Saturday after beating Manchester City 2-0, but the Daily Star's Fullbrook reckons the success of the team is despite the manager, not because of him.
He insists the players are so good at Stamford Bridge that the team is basically running itself because Grant has had a minimal impact since replacing Jose Mourinho earlier this season.
"He's not doing anything," Fullbrook told The Sunday Supplement.
"If Chelsea win anything this season it will be despite Avram Grant, not because of him - I've held that view for a very, very long time.
"We've had to read some very well-placed PR about old Avram Grant recently, saying how he fantastically studied Bob Paisley and Brian Clough when he was a young man and how he travelled the world studying the greatest coaches that there are.
"Yet before he got this job he'd never managed outside Israel, so that can't have done him much good!
"I think the hierarchy at Chelsea didn't quite realise or understand how important Jose Mourinho was for winning things.
"Grant hasn't won anything yet, we'll wait and see if he does, but they're like a rollercoaster; the mistakes he has made in the last two months are indicative of an inexperienced manager at the very top.
"His squad is so good and they have so many good players at Chelsea, that the team is almost running itself. In my opinion I don't think it's anything to do with Grant.
No respect
Fullbrook inists there is disharmony within the Chelsea squad under the Israeli boss and he insists he should be replaced in the summer because he is currently little more than a "puppet master".
He continued: "From what I hear, there's a lack of respect. There's no love, there's no unity, there's no admiration for Grant, he just happens to be the figurehead of the team.
"There's much more unity towards Steve Clarke and for me Avram Grant is just a puppet master.
"If Chelsea do win the Premier League and Champions League I'd say it's not because of him, it's because of the players.
"Of course it would be completely churlish to give him no credit at all, but let's wait and see whether he does it first."



Completely Agree with this guy here that Avram Grant is just a puppet and that most credit should goes to the players.


Kenyon Carries Olympic Torch!


Despite not being particularly interested in the Olympics I can`t help but be touched to read that Peter Kenyon will participate in carrying the Olympic torch as it winds it`s way through London.The merits of holding the Olympics in China can be discussed for hours as can the apparent folly of parading its symbol through numerous cities months before the games actually start.I know it`s all publicity driven, I know London are the next hosts of the Olympic ideal but it still brings a smile to my face the mere thought of our Peter jogging around London.It`s not that I doubt his fitness, he could out-jog me any day, I just find it quite illuminating that the only reason I can find for Peter being granted this apparent honour is that our major club sponsors, Samsung, also happen to be one of the major sponsors of the Olympic games, or am I just being an old cynic?