Chelsea today insisted there is “no truth” in reports that Avram Grant is to return to Stamford Bridge as an advisor to interim manager Rafa Benitez.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has long been close to Grant and the Israeli was Chelsea manager when the club reached the 2008 Champions League final.
A Chelsea spokesman today insisted however: “There is no truth in the reports.”
Benitez has found himself under intense pressure less than two weeks since being appointed, but he was vowed not to throw in the towel after revealing his anger at his players’ 3-1 defeat at West Ham.
Benitez admitted he was “not 100% sure” his position was secure but insisted he would not be driven out of the club amid growing unrest, with some supporters still furious at the appointment of the former Liverpool boss.
Asked whether he would ever consider walking away from the abuse, jeers and protest banners that are bound to be in evidence again in Wednesday’s Champions League game at Nordsjaelland, Benitez said: “No. When I decided to come, I knew it was a challenge.
“We have to win games, and everyone will be happier.”
Ultimately, the only supporter Benitez really needs to make happy is billionaire Blues owner Abramovich, who fans appealed to directly yesterday with a chant of “Roman Abramovich, is this what you want?”
Benitez is the first Chelsea boss not to win one of his first three games in charge under Abramovich, the first not to witness a goal in his first two, the first to lose to West Ham, with seven points dropped and a top-four place now under threat – never mind the title itself.
Although Benitez has only been in charge for three of the last seven games, Chelsea’s recent statistics also amount to the Blues’ longest winless run in the league for 17 years, their lowest points tally after 15 matches since Abramovich bought the club, and now a 10-point gap to leaders Manchester United.