Grant reveals private pain

Chelsea manager pays tribute to his father after his side’s historic victory.


Avram Grant celebrates his side’s victory and pays
tribute to the victims of the Holocaust [GALLO/GETTY]

Despite his side qualifying for the Uefa Champions League final Chelsea’s manager Avram Grant had a night of mixed emotions.

The Israeli manager was also remembering his family members who were among the six million Jews who died in World War II, his tribute shown by wearing a black armband adorned with the Star of David.

“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 his team prevailed 3-2 in extra time against Liverpool.

“It wasn’t an easy day for me and I am a little bit emotional.”

On Thursday, Grant will join his Holocaust survivoring father at Auschwitz, where he will address 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 a lot. He buried his father, his mother, his sisters with his own hands.

“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.”

Off to Moscow: Avram Grant embraces
John Terry [GALLO/GETTY]

Grant’s success may finally 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 criticised for not being able to win big matches and the style of play his team adopt, but he is now on the verge of a historic double.

League title still up for grabs

On Saturday, the Blues beat Manchester United 2-1 to draw level in the English 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 lost twice to the Reds in the semifinals.

Derided for his inexperience and dour persona, Grant seemed shocked by the dramatic victory.

He wandered the field while his players erupted in joy, embracing each other and dancing.

At 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.

Source: News Agencies