Soccer: Chelsea's Ben-Haim lashes out at coach Grant

Out-of-favor Israeli defender claims he felt "nothing good would come" when Grant took over from Jose Mourinho last September.

By JEREMY LAST
April 17, 2008 02:20
2 minute read.
Soccer: Chelsea's Ben-Haim lashes out at coach Grant

ben-haim. (photo credit: )

Chelsea's out-of-favor Israeli defender Tal Ben-Haim launched a war of words with manager Avraham Grant on Wednesday, claiming that he felt "nothing good would come" when Grant took over from Jose Mourinho last September. Ben-Haim, who signed from English Premier League side Bolton Wanderers on a free transfer in the summer while Jose Mourinho was in charge at Stamford Bridge, told British daily The Sun that he never would have made the move to Chelsea if he had known Grant would get Mourinho's job. At the start of the season Ben-Haim played in the majority of Chelsea's games, especially when captain John Terry was out injured. However under Grant, who became Chelsea manager on September 20, the Israeli has played far fewer games, often not even making the substitutes bench. Ben-Haim has not played in the league since February 2, forcing the former Maccabi Tel Aviv star to play for the reserve team. "Jose Mourinho is the reason I came to Chelsea and if I knew Avraham Grant was going to be the coach then I would have signed for another club," Ben-Haim told The Sun. "It was Jose who brought me here and no one except he and I know the conversation we had when he tried to sign me the first time a year ago last January. "The fact is while Jose was the coach I played most of the games and people who know me know that I would not have come here to be a reserve." Grant responded to his defender's remarks at Chelsea's pre-match press conference on Wednesday, vowing to deal with the matter personally. "It is internal business but in my opinion if the player was wrong we need to deal with it in my way," Grant told reporters. "It is an internal matter and we will deal with it like this - we know we need to hear from the player first if it is true or not. With regards to Ben-Haim's claims, Grant added: "I don't think Jose promised Tal Ben-Haim that he would play before John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho and Alex, but maybe yes. I will ask Tal." Chelsea is under intense pressure for the game against Everton, which was moved to Thursday from Saturday for television purposes. Grant said he still believes the Blues can win the title, despite dropping three points in a 1-1 draw at home to lowly Wigan Athletic on Monday night leaving Chelsea five points behind Manchester United in the Premiership with four league games to play. Dismissing rumors that he will be replaced in the summer, Grant said: "I think the pressure is on us but we've come from nowhere to fight for the title. "I'm not even thinking about my future, even if I have a contract. If the club are happy with me then I'll continue. There's no issue. It's important that I do my job for Chelsea, nobody has told me I must deliver a trophy but I want to. "In football anything can happen. I won't stop fighting until it's impossible to win and if United succeed then I'll be the first to congratulate them." Everton coach David Moyes, who's side is currently in fifth position in the league, disagreed, saying he is sure Manchester United will finish the season as champions. "Chelsea will not win the title. Manchester United will do that now," Moyes said. "I believe it is United's championship. It would need them to make a real mess of things for that not to happen. Chelsea have pushed them hard, but it is United's to throw away now."


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