Grant denies Sheva rift | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 09, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 09, 2007

Grant denies Sheva rift

Avram Grant insists Andriy Shevchenko still has a future at Chelsea despite leaving the Ukraine striker on the substitutes bench for his side's win at Bolton.
With Didier Drogba suspended, Grant opted to field Salomon Kalou as the lone forward as the Blues sought their first league goal in five games.
And when Kalou was withdrawn at half-time with a hamstring strain immediately after the Ivory Coast international had netted the 41st minute match-winner, the manager asked Claudio Pizarro to lead the line.
Shevchenko - who was dropped for the midweek visit to Valencia - finally appeared with just 17 minutes remaining suggesting he has fallen further down the Stamford Bridge pecking order.
But Grant was adamant the former AC Milan star will get his chance - although he denied he was under pressure from Roman Abramovich, the club's owner and close friend of Shevchenko, to play him regularly.
"We have a long season and every player will have good times and bad times," Grant said. "Sheva is trying hard, he is a great player, and I'm sure he will be good for Chelsea. In these games we use other players but it is a long season and I'm sure there will be good parts for him.
"When I got the job nobody told me who has to play. I need to take the decisions for the good of Chelsea. We have a big squad and we need all the players including Sheva.
"They pay me to be in charge so I have to be in charge and I have to take the decisions for the present and for the future. I came into the job to take the team forward and it's good to do it through wins."
Grant admitted he was relieved to have secured his first league win as Chelsea manager but conceded his side was far from the finished article.
He added: "It will take time. I think we need to see how we develop from month to month to be better in terms of football but sometimes you need the points, especially when you play away. Especially after a long time without a win.
"So the target for today was the three points. And the target for the long and short time is to build the style of how I want the team to play and play good football. The base before was good, but this season hasn't been so good, so we are improving this."
Shaun Wright-Phillips was once again absent from the Chelsea squad with a knee injury, but Grant claimed the winger would join up with Steve McClaren's England squad to face Estonia and Russia if he proves his fitness over the next 24 hours.
"He is almost fit but we will see what he is like tomorrow," said the manager. "We will not stop him playing for England. I was a national coach and I know what is needed by a national team. But we need to know if he will be fit to play. If he's fit I will not stop him, even though he has not played for us for the last two weeks."
Bolton manager Sammy Lee rejected suggestions of player discontent following his surprise decision to exclude skipper Kevin Nolan and player-coach Gary Speed from the 16-man squad that faced Chelsea.
The pair had also been omitted for the midweek UEFA Cup victory over Macedonian side Rabotnicki but Lee insisted: "It's my job to pick the team and I choose the best side to win any game at any given time.
"It's for no other reason than that. I've said we are competing on all fronts and I need to make sure everybody has game minutes under their belts. I pick the team and that's the end of it."

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