Avram Grant, that led Chelsea to next in the Premier League and the Champions League final in 2008, has indicated that Roman Abramovich could have banished him he led the club into the fourth-placed conclusion they had this season.
Grant has praised present Blues boss Frank Lampard for directing the club into the final UEFA Champions League eligibility position this season, qualifying his support by adding Russian owner Abramovich could have exiled him for finishing at 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 factors to Manchester United in the top of the league and on penalties against the Red Devils at the UEFA Champions League final in Moscow.
“Compared to the requirement of Roman Abramovich, when I told him some years ago that fourth position could be good for him, he’d most likely have sent me to Siberia,” represented Grant, speaking to Stats Perform.
“In my group at Chelsea there certainly were a lot of leaders. I thought [Michael] Ballack are a good coach, Didier [Drogba], John Terry, since they had good personalities and a lot of understanding of soccer.
“Of course, acquiring the knowledge isn’t the same — you have to pass the knowledge to players, you have to deal with the owner, the press, you have to deal with the supporters.
“But in the end of the day, you depend on the performance on the pitch — it’s results, particularly at the top.”
At the moment, Manchester City were only starting the extravagant spending that has seen them dominate the Premier League in recent years and present champions Liverpool were seven decades away from appointing Jurgen Klopp, the trainer responsible to their all-conquering resurgence.
However, Grant accepts that beginner coach Lampard has faced some hard challenges in his first year in charge.
“I think it’s a good season, especially compared to the way it began, without being allowed to purchase players,” he said.
“Due to the scenario before, I think it’s a good place. For Frank, I think it’s a big achievement. It’s his first year as a trainer in the Premier League.
“Of course, he was a player with a lot of expertise, but you can’t compare a player to a manager, and I think he has managed the team really well.
“There were a lot of young players and he knew how to play them, the way to give them a rest and when to push them. It’s a good base for the long run, I was quite delighted with his performance.”
Grant had a good relationship with Lampard the player prior to being sacked as coach after 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 perspective about soccer.”