What difference Jose Murinho would have made for Chelsea at Carling Cup?
Carling Cup final was indeed a tragedy for Chelsea, more so for Avram Grant. Chelsea lost to Tottenham Spurs 2-1. Spurs had all Gods lined up for their team showering with luck both in front of the goal and with the decisions. For a change Chelsea had no luck riding with them. No, I am in no way trying to downsize the credibility of Tottenham team or their win over the Chelsea at the Carling Cup final. They have already proved it with the thumping win over Arsenal at the semifinals. It’s just that I wanted to stress Chelsea was not as lucky as they were used to.
I have seen many comments against the way Avram handled the final. Many asking for his scalp and showering praises on Jose Murinho. It may be true that Jose has not lost many finals. He may have guided Chelsea to a win if he had been the coach for them in finals, but this would have happened if and only if he has managed to guide Chelsea to finals. I don’t think he would have succeeded in that. The arrogant, outrageous and disrespectful manager had successfully guided the team to a dominating victory in his first Premier League Championship, but since them it was a downhill performance by the team. Team was getting weaker and weaker, mainly due to the wrong qualities they had been absorbing from their out-of-mind manager both on and off the field. They were lucky many a times to have won some of the cups under him.
Inexperienced Avram Grant took over the team in the middle of the season and still he managed to keep the team in tight hunt for all the four cups. Hats off to him for this achievement so far and especially when he was given the team charge when it was sliding in its form under its proud and arrogant manager. It was achieved from a point where they would have reached nowhere in this season.
Chelsea had an excellent line up to start for them against the Tottenham which included Terry, Drogba, Anelka, Lampard, Shaun, Eissen etc which was good enough to beat Tottenham, with Petr Cech guarding the goal. Joe Cole and Ballack wouldn’t have made much of a difference to the result. Their introduction did not make much of an impact, when they had the time to prove their value and managers cannot let every club players start in a game.
Avram Grant is not an experienced manager and this is one of his first major cup final. He has done good job so far. In the final he showed he is capable of making bold decisions. He is having his team still in fray for top honours in the remaining 3 cups. He made a decision with his players in finals and for his bad luck it dint work. If they had won the game, the same guys who criticize him now, would have licked his feet and showered him with praises. Just because his decision backfired once, that doesn’t mean he is not good. Anyone can make mistakes, unfortunately for Avram it was his first final for Chelsea. Sir Alex Ferguson lost in Carling Cup tamely, no one is asking for his scalp. Arsene wenger lost badly to Tottenham. Considering that defeat, Chelsea’s result was not bad at all. Avram Grant will learn from his mistakes. He just got a half season and still he proved himself by keeping the team in top in all cups. It has to be appreciated.
Avram tried his tactics for the final and it almost worked for him. His team got the lead in 38th minute, but then they went back to the Murinho approach of ‘defense with 1-0 lead’, which had been used by him for a few years. Once they fell back to Murinho type approach, and they lost the plot. They have to get rid of Jose Murinho approaches and influences of the ‘super hero’ attitude of his, to be back in cup winning form.
Once Avram gets a full season, with adequate time to plan and train, he will bring out excellent results. He appears to be a more respectful person and he will surely gather more respect from all. If Avram manages to win a cup or reach in finals of one more cup, that will be really great for someone who had started things half-way through when things were in shatters, heading for a very bad season.
Avram will be on top sooner or later. After all just one cup final is over under him, more importantly the very first final he could have been involved with, in any case and this season itself has long way to go and many more seasons to come. Let’s hope he can bring out some wonderful moments to Chelsea team in a more respectable way. I am sure he will be a much more respected coach and remembered for better reasons than the former one.