On Wednesday, we reported that Chelsea manager Avram Grant was seemingly happy to take the credit for a teacup-throwing team talk, which helped the Blues recover from a goal down to beat Fulham 2-1. However, The Times are now reporting that it was Grant’s assistant Steve Clarke who rallied the troops after a lacklustre first-half at Craven Cottage.
Grant joked on Tuesday that the key decision to replace Steve Sidwell with John Obi Mikel at half-time was taken by Roman Abramovich, the owner, but it seems that other duties are shared around at Stamford Bridge. It is understood that Clarke tore into the players when they returned to the dressing-room for the interval at Craven Cottage, questioning their commitment and exhorting them to raise their game, while Grant sat and watched.
The Israeli’s contribution was quietly to announce the substitution after Clarke’s dressing-down had finished, before explaining on a one-on-one basis how the change would affect Michael Essien, who was moved into a more advanced midfield role.
This revelation will continue to fuel speculation that Grant is little more than Abramovich’s puppet, who can be manipulated as far as new signings and tactics are concerned. It’s strange that he felt the need to utter the following after the match, if indeed he did take a back seat in proceedings.
“If I need to throw a teacup or even break a chair to win the game, that’s what I will do. If the players are sleeping then you need to wake them up.”