Champions League

Stick with Di Matteo - Grant

2012-04-25 21:44
Avram Grant (File)

London - Former Chelsea manager Avram Grant has said interim boss Roberto di Matteo should be given the job on a full-time basis after overseeing the team's run to the Champions League final.

Di Matteo, himself a former Chelsea midfielder, saw Chelsea upset the odds in dramatic fashion as a 2-2 draw away to reigning champions Barcelona on Tuesday gave the London club a 3-2 aggregate victory.

The Italian has presided over an impressive turnaround in Chelsea's fortunes since replacing the sacked Andre Villas-Boas just over a month ago.

Grant, sacked by owner Roman Abramovich after Chelsea lost the 2008 Champions League final to Manchester United in a Moscow penalty shoot-out - the closest the Blues have come to winning the European Cup - said Di Matteo should remain in charge at Stamford Bridge.

"Roberto deserves one more year, at least, because he has done a good job with this team. To come to the final with this team is unbelievable," Grant told BBC Radio Five Live.

However, the Israeli - now in charge of Serbian club Partizan Belgrade - said there was no telling what Russian billionaire Abramovich would do next.

"Abramovich sometimes thinks different," Grant said.

"In my time we came to the first final in the history of the club. We also played unbelievable football in the (Premier) League, in my opinion, beating all the big teams. But then he decided that I would not continue."

Nevertheless Grant, also in charge of Portsmouth and West Ham during his time in English football, added: "In this case, Abramovich has seen that the team was on the way up and I think di Matteo will have a chance to continue.

"For a manager, against Barcelona is the most difficult game you can play. Especially as Chelsea are not great this season.

"But over the two games Di Matteo did a very good job. What is the weakness of Chelsea? Chelsea are not playing great football this season so he went for the strengths of his team, the old players in combination with good tactics, to stop Barcelona."

Chelsea will play the winners of Wednesday's second semi-final between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, with Bayern travelling to Spain 2-1 up from the first leg, and Grant is hoping Abramovich can at last fulfil his European dream.

"It is not a secret, his dream is the Champions League," he said. "It is okay to be champions of England, but the most important thing is he wants recognition of the team in Europe.

"The big trophy in Europe is the Champions League, and it is not good that in all the years Abramovich has been here, and all the money he has spent, he was only one time in the final.

"So now it is the second time, and I hope he will win it."

Read more on:    chelsea  |  avram grant  |  roberto di matteo  |  soccer


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