Grant's joy tempered by Shoah sorrow

It was a night of mixed emotions for Avraham Grant. Amid speculation about his job security, he guided Chelsea to its first Champions League final, but his celebrations were muted. The Israeli manager was also remembering his family members who were among the six million Jews who died in World War II. "I don't know if you know, but it's not an easy day for me because it is Holocaust Day in Israel," Grant said after Chelsea beat Liverpool 3-2 in extra time on Wednesday night. "It wasn't an easy day for me and I am a little bit emotional." On Thursday, Grant joined his Holocaust survivor father at Auschwitz, where he addressed thousands at the Nazi concentration camp. "I owe a lot to my parents," Grant added. "I don't like to speak about it, but my mother comes from Iraq, my father is a survivor of the Holocaust. He's the most optimistic and strong man I've ever seen. He buried his father, his mother, his sisters with his own hand. "But he never looked to the past. He looked to the future, even though he suffered a lot. It's not an easy day for me, but now it's a happy day." Grant's success may induce the Chelsea fans to give him some respect. He has never been fully embraced by the supporters since he replaced the popular Jose Mourinho in September. Grant had also been criticized for not being able to win big matches, but he has now won two straight important games. On Saturday, the Blues beat Manchester United 2-1 to pull even in the Premier League title race at 81 points apiece, with two games remaining. The two sides will also meet in the Champions League final in Moscow on May 21. Although Mourinho is still idolized at Stamford Bridge despite his failure to lead Chelsea to the Champions League final, it's Grant who finally managed to beat Liverpool over two legs. Mourinho twice lost to the Reds in the semifinals. Derided for his inexperience and dour persona, Grant seemed shocked by the dramatic victory. He glumly wandered the field while his players erupted in joy, embracing each other and dancing. At one point, however, he fell to his knees on the turf and raised his arms in the air. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich should also be happy. The Russian billionaire has said that winning the Champions League was his goal, and the lack of a title in the European competition is believed to have led to the rift between Abramovich and Mourinho, who won two straight league titles for the London team. The fans, however, still can't bring themselves to sing Grant's name. They believe the Israeli landed the Chelsea job by virtue of his friendship with Abramovich. Grant never played professionally and his management experience was limited to the Israeli league and the country's national team, where he failed to reach a major tournament.