Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Avram the Analyst Tells Stars It's All in the Mind; Big Noise: Avram Grant Can Lose His Temper When Required, as His Players Found out during Their Recent Game against West Ham

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Avram the Analyst Tells Stars It's All in the Mind; Big Noise: Avram Grant Can Lose His Temper When Required, as His Players Found out during Their Recent Game against West Ham

Article excerpt

Byline: LEO SPALL

WHEN Avram Grant first entered the Chelsea dressing room as manager hecould have been forgiven for feeling a little starstruck.

The stellar cast headed by John Terry, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard couldput even the most experienced new boss on edge.

But having already mixed with some of the highest-paid sportsmen in world, theIsraeli has quickly made himself at home with a 14-game unbeaten run.

Grant has studied first hand how Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrongand Michael Johnson became kings of their realms.

The methods used to make them basketball, cycling and track legends were notedand Chelsea's manager has borrowed the best bits.

Grant may have been forced to give up a career as a goalscoring midfielderbecause of a car crash when he was 17, but he has made the most of his time incoaching since starting as a teenager.

He said: "I have followed football and other sports at the highest level. Iwent to many training sessions and talked to all the biggest coaches andplayers.

"I have my opinions but I took the best things from everybody. I have followedfootball all my life and I love it, but you can learn a lot from other sports.

"One of my friends was the publicity agent for Magic Johnson and from 1988 for15 years I didn't miss any of the NBA finals. I was in the dressing room beforeand after the games and at half-time. I wanted to learn the psychology behindthe teams." If Arsene Wenger is known as 'the professor' perhaps Grant, who hastaken courses at Harvard University, could become 'the analyst'.

There are already signs he wants to get inside the heads of his playersfrequently naming his teams quite late on game days to keep them on their toesand employing a squad rotation system they were not used to.

Although the 52-year-old is not much of a shouter, he is not afraid to raisethe volume and did so at half-time during last week's 1-0 win against West Ham. …

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