Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Grant: Abramovich easy to work with

Roman Abramovich

New Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas can expect to be left alone to get on with his job, according to former Blues boss Avram Grant.

At just 33, the Portuguese will be the youngest manager in the Barclays Premier League after he succeeded experienced Italian Carlo Ancelotti once his release from his Porto contract had been agreed. Blues owner Roman Abramovich craves Champions League success and has dispensed with six managers since 2005.

Grant - who was director of football at Chelsea before taking over from Jose Mourinho in September 2007 - almost delivered when coming within a penalty kick of winning the 2008 Champions League final in Moscow. He told talkSPORT: "It is very easy to work under Roman Abramovich."

He added: "I have read people in the paper saying that he interferes, but it is not true - he gives you everything you want and you are even sometimes afraid to say something because you know the day after you will have it.

"If you see the [training] facilities at Cobham and even the Academy, it is at a top, top level. He is a perfectionist. He wants to achieve the best and he will give you everything to achieve the best, so he wants the results, but he's easy to work with."

Former assistant manager Ray Wilkins feels Villas-Boas' biggest challenge will be to win over some of the high-profile names in the Stamford Bridge dressing room, many of whom he will know from his time working as a member of Mourinho's staff.

Grant, though, does not feel age and Villas-Boas' relative lack of coaching experience will prove an issue.

"Andre's very young, but he has been involved in a football a long time," said Grant of Villas-Boas, who last season guided Porto to domestic and Europa League success.

"We need to remember that when Jose came he didn't have much more experience than him. He was at Porto for two years - and Pep Guardiola came straight into the Barcelona job after managing Barcelona B."

Chelsea were reported to have targeted former caretaker manager Guus Hiddink in their search for a new manager, but after Villas-Boas was confirmed, maintained the Portuguese coach was the "outstanding candidate for the job".

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