Grant rues timing of Chelsea exit

BY foxsports • December 15, 2009

The Israeli will take charge of a club at Stamford Bridge for the first time since his departure in May 2008 when Portsmouth visit west London on Wednesday evening. Grant still has fond memories of his time with Chelsea and admits his return to the venue will be an emotional occasion. But the former Israel national team boss believes the team were going forward under his leadership and felt owner Roman Abramovich should have kept faith with him. He said: "I thought I needed to continue because the team was on the way up. Every month, it was better. "The football improved and I thought it was good for me, good for the club and good for the owner for me to stay. "But the owner took a decision and I have two choices - to look back or look forward." Grant was not completely shocked by his sacking, which came just four days after the Blues lost to Manchester United in the Champions League final by virtue of a penalty shoot-out. Former Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari was later installed in his place. Grant said: "I've been in football too long to say that something would surprise me. "Sometimes I can read between the lines but I didn't even think about this. "In the last three or four months especially, I was concentrating on winning all the titles. "When it happened, I was surprised, but not completely because that's football." Grant remains proud he got Chelsea moving in the right direction, despite being given just eight months in the job. He explained: "I think the team was in a bad situation (when I arrived). They weren't getting the points and they were struggling in the Champions League. They drew at home against Rosenborg. "I don't think they were as good as the two years when they took the two championships or even the year before. "I needed to go there but it was not an easy situation because nobody knew who I was. I came in with a different way, which sometimes takes time. "You have seen what Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson have done and it took them more than one year to influence their teams. "We did it with some great staff and great players and we did it in a very short space of time. I'm very proud not of what I did, but how we did it." There will always be the wonder of what might have been, if Blues skipper John Terry had buried his spot-kick in the famous Moscow shoot-out. Grant knows he will always be asked the question of whether he would have kept his job if Terry had won Chelsea the Champions League. He joked: "The chairman said it was my fault John Terry missed the penalty. "It was my fault we didn't start the season so well too, but I think he forgot I wasn't there at the beginning. But you know what the job of a manager is - to be guilty. "To be serious, I don't think about it too much. There is always someone in the press or even in the street who will remind me of this penalty. "Of course, when you come to the final penalty and you could have been champions of Europe, you will always remember this. But we did achieve a lot. I enjoyed every day at the club."


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