Tal Ben-Haim introduced in LA

By
July 13, 2007 01:39
3 minute read.

Jose Mourinho showered new Chelsea signing Tal Ben-Haim with praise as the Israeli international was officially introduced as a Chelsea player at a press conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday. The defender, who signed with the English giant on a free transfer from Bolton four weeks ago, appears to have already made quite an impression on the decorated Portuguese manager. "I liked Ben-Haim before we began training, but after watching him today I like him even more," Mourinho told reporters. Explaining how he had attempted to bring Ben-Haim to Stamford Bridge earlier this year, Mourinho added: "We tried to have him last January. We were in trouble at the time but it was not possible, as he was an important player for Bolton." The Blues are currently preparing for the first preseason friendly of their American tour against Club America in California on Saturday. Ben-Haim has only taken part in three training sessions at his new club, but the 25-year-old is already itching to play for the FA Cup holder. "I'm fulfilling the dream of every footballer in the world, to be presented at a massive club like Chelsea," said Ben-Haim, who was given the number 22 shirt. "I feel it's the right time to say thanks to those who helped me reach this stage: Bolton Wanderers, Sam Allardyce and Jose Mourinho, Peter Kenyon and everybody at Chelsea Football Club for the great faith they've shown in me. Laying out his plans, Ben-Haim added: "I want to say to the Chelsea fans that I am a hard working man, and committed, and I'll do everything to justify the faith in me." Mourinho said he decided to add Ben-Haim to his already impressive squad to give the team a versatile backup defender that can play at every position in the back line. "We need some multifunctional defenders in the squad," he said. "People that can save my skin when I am in trouble. Before it was Terry and Carvalho and nobody else, but at this moment we have three central defenders of quality and they will have to compete between them. "I can imagine in a hypothetical situation, we have a game tomorrow and I need a left back. I need to choose between Tal, Paulo Ferreira or Glen Johnson. In this moment our two left backs are not in condition, so it's comfortable for a manager to have these kinds of players in the squad." Mourinho also spoke for the first time about the club's new director of football, former Israel national team coach Avraham Grant. The manager welcomed the former Israel coach to the club but told him not to interfere in his affairs. "I think the club was very clear in the statement they put out. If you want to know more about his work ethic, you'll have to speak with him," Mourinho said of Grant, who was appointed late last week, leaving his role as technical director at Portsmouth. The statement from Chelsea announcing the arrival of Grant, who is believed to be a close friend of Blues owner Roman Abramovich, said he would be responsible for 'liaison on, and co-ordination of, football matters across the various areas of Chelsea FC'. "He's here to give some support to different areas in the club and for me that is not a problem. If the club wants to bring people to make the club better and to create a job for somebody to support those different areas in the club then fine," Mourinho added. "From my point of view, he must not interfere with the power I have in relation to my job. So, welcome, and I will try to help him with what happens at a club like Chelsea."


Related Content

dudi sela
August 31, 2014
Sela steamrolled by Dimitrov

By ALLON SINAI