Grant eyes future after early competition exit

Chelsea manager is under even more pressure to deliver a trophy in either the Premier League or Champions League.

By
March 11, 2008 05:19
1 minute read.
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grant 88. (photo credit: )

 
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Chelsea has been outplayed and eliminated from two competitions in two weeks. Now, manager Avram Grant is under even more pressure to deliver a trophy in either the Premier League or Champions League. Chelsea lost to League Championship team Barnsley 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup on Saturday - the first time since 1999 that the club has lost to lower-league opposition. Grant said losing to a club ranked 33 places below his team was the most disappointing result since he became manager in September, replacing Jose Mourinho. The FA Cup exit comes after Chelsea lost to Tottenham 2-1 in the League Cup final on February 24. Grant congratulated Barnsley, which last reached the semifinals of the FA Cup in 1912, before going on to win it for the only time, but also blamed the field. "For us, it was not a pitch we can play quality football on," Grant said. "We tried to play. In the second half, we played good until we conceded a goal, which was their first attack of the half." Grant rested Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Claude Makelele and Ashley Cole against Barnsley, which eliminated Liverpool in the previous round at Anfield. But he still fielded a side with a handful of international players. The Blues are in third place in the Premier League, seven points behind leader Arsenal. Chelsea is also in the quarterfinals of the Champions League after ousting Olympiakos last week. "Maybe this year, the cup is not for the big teams," Grant said, noting Manchester United and Arsenal are also no longer in the FA Cup. "We move on and look forward. We have to competitions to fight for. "You can say it, yes, since I came to Chelsea, this is my most disappointing day, [but] we have a good team and look to the future." Grant may have to present Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich with a trophy to keep his job. Mourinho left after a scoreless draw with Rosenborg in the Champions League despite guiding Chelsea to two Premier League titles, two League Cups and the FA Cup. "At a club like Chelsea there is always pressure," Grant said. "I feel it all the time, and there is pressure whether you win or lose." British bookmakers don't expect Grant to last long. William Hill released odds Sunday of 2-5 that Grant would be gone by the first day of next season.

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