Avram Grant still believes in the integrity of the Barclays Premier League despite Alan Curbishley’s belief that it would be an injustice if Manchester United did not win the title.
Grant insists the West Ham manager was wrong to air his views in public, especially as the Hammers face United at Old Trafford later today.
The Chelsea coach is expecting another dramatic weekend in the race for the title and is convinced that, despite Curbishley’s remarks, integrity is everything in the English game.
“I believe in integrity in sport,” said Grant, whose side travel to Newcastle for their penultimate league game of the season on Monday.
“One of my closest friends is Yossi Benayoun.
“He was my player at 20, we were champions together, but who gave the big ’assist’ against us for Liverpool this week? He did.
“This is part of sport. You can be friends and have a good relationship, but when you’re on the pitch, you want to win.
“I have a very good relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson, and with Arsene Wenger, but we’ve done everything to beat each other. You can be in a good relationship, but in sport you do everything to win for yourself.”
Of Curbishley’s assertion, Grant said: “I’ve never seen a comment like this. He was wrong to do that. It’s not a good message for your players, but up to now I’ve not had any reason to doubt.
“We want to win the title, especially given where we came from. It was never in our hands, not when four teams were ahead of us, then three, then two.
“But we did our job. We have to win on Monday, and it is difficult game to play in Newcastle. But I don’t think it’s easy for United to play with this pressure.
“It was in their hands. Now it’s a different pressure. We’ll see what happens now.
“I still believe in the integrity of English football and I don’t think it will change. I want to believe it won’t change.
“We want United to drop points, of course, I can just hope that it will happen.”
Meanwhile, Grant insists winger Shaun Wright-Phillips is not unhappy despite being left out of the side in recent games.
“If Shaun is not happy, given my relationship with the player, he can come and tell me,” the Chelsea boss said.
“I don’t think there’s a problem. We are in historic moments in Chelsea, so this is a moment to say thank you to all the players at Chelsea.
“Shaun was our best player in December. This is a time to respect everybody at the club.”