Happy Grant answers critics

01 May 2008 07:21
Avram Grant believes he has answered his critics after guiding Chelsea to the Champions League Final at the expense of Liverpool. The Israeli coach was a surprise successor to Jose Mourinho when he took the reins back in September but, after guiding the Blues to a European final and keeping his side on the heels of Manchester United in the title race, he believes his credentials should no longer be questioned. Chelsea set-up a final showdown with Manchester United in Moscow after a 3-2 semi-final second leg success over the Reds which secured a 4-3 aggregate victory. "Since day one there have been so many microscopes on me that I have become shorter," he joked. "I understand in the beginning the criticism, but I needed to prove more than others that my team knows how to play football and handle the difficult days - and we have created history today and we are still fighting for the league championship. "To create history in this club in the first year as a manager, with all the difficulties we have had this year, means a lot to me. "We stayed together and did things the way I like to do things - in a positive way. This is a time to say that everybody in the club has done good work. "Rafa (Benitez) is a great manager, great tactics, and it was very difficult to play against him tactically. "We had to think all of the time because they are very organised and clever in the movement." Meanwhile, Grant praised the resilience of Frank Lampard after he returned to the side six days after the death of his mother and showed remarkable composure to convert an extra-time penalty to put his side in the driving seat. "Frank is a brave man because he was very close to his mother and what happened with him in the last days, it was not easy to take this decision, but he played well and is a little bit happy now," he added.

Source: ESA