Anelka believes Grant can lead Chelsea to European title

"The press put pressure on him. He knows what he is doing and that is why he doesn't speak a lot," says French striker.

chelsea soccer 88 (photo credit: )
chelsea soccer 88
(photo credit: )
Nicolas Anelka knows what it takes from a coach to win the Champions League. And he thinks Avraham Grant is the right man to lead Chelsea to victory in Moscow on Wednesday. Grant's position has been subject to constant speculation since he succeeded the high-profile Jose 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. The 29-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. Del Bosque was forced out in 2003 after winning another Spanish League title, with the club eager to appoint a higher profile coach. Grant has suffered in comparison with the outspoken Mourinho, who led Chelsea to two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and two League Cups. Grant's confidence is of a quieter sort. "When you come in the middle of the year, you don't need to come like an elephant in a shop and break everything," Grant said. "There were good things that we keep and other things that, I will not say were not good, but that because of the vision of the club we needed to change But I prefer not to talk about myself." And Grant's profile is lower than that of almost all his players. Even Anelka, who has been something of a peripheral figure since joining Chelsea for £15 million, is soccer's most costly player at a career total transfer worth of £85m. Uncharacteristically, though, Anelka says he is happy to play a support role while Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and even, lately, Andriy Shevchenko get more playing time. "It is not frustrating. I am new in the club," Anelka said. "The manager wants to play 4-5-1 and I have to stay on the bench. But when I play I do my best. I hope one day I will get the chance to play my position in a 4-4-2." Anelka is hoping it is Grant who will be around to give him that chance. "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."