Anelka: Grant has what it takes

2008-05-19 00:00

LONDON — Nicolas Anelka knows what it takes from a coach to win the Champions League, and he thinks Avram Grant is the right man to lead Chelsea to victory in Moscow tomorrow.

Grant’s position has been subject to constant speculation since he succeeded the high-profile José Mourinho in September, but he must be doing something right.

Although he’s played Anelka out of position and often left him on the bench since signing him in January, the famously prickly France striker, who won the Champions League in 2000 with Real Madrid, is still backing him to stay on, whatever the result against Manchester United.

Twenty-nine-year-old Anelka has played for Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester City, Fenerbahce and Bolton. So, he has plenty of coaches with which to compare Grant.

And he sees plenty of similarities with Vicente Del Bosque, who coached Madrid to its 2000 Champions League triumph over Valencia.

“They are the same,” Anelka said. “Del Bosque was shy as well and didn’t speak a lot. He wanted to play football, he knew what he was doing and we won with him. They had the same style.

“The press put pressure on him. He knows what he is doing and that is why he doesn’t speak a lot.

“When you see him from inside, I think you feel very confident.”

But like Del Bosque, Grant has struggled to win over those at the top of his club.

“When he speaks to the players you feel confident,” Anelka said. “He doesn’t have to speak a lot. Of course I hope he stays. Everybody does.”

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