Latics boss Bruce backing Grant's staying power

April 13, 2008

Wigan manager Steve Bruce is convinced Chelsea boss Avram Grant 'will be around for years to come'.

Bruce has been impressed with the way Grant has conducted himself since replacing Jose Mourinho earlier this season at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues are just three points adrift of Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United ahead of Sir Alex Ferguson's side facing another title challenger in Arsenal at Old Trafford today.

Grant has also steered Chelsea into the last four of the Champions League where they will face Liverpool for the third time in four years.

It has been suggested if Grant fails to win either trophy, his reign will come to a swift end by the close of this season.

Yet Bruce, who crosses Grant's path at the Bridge tomorrow, feels the Israeli has done more than enough this season to earn another shot for next term.

'I take my hat off to him,' said Bruce.

'He has handled himself with a lot of dignity and shown he can handle the job because whoever took over from Mourinho, it was always going to be difficult.

'The media and many other people loved Jose because he was someone different, and then Avram is totally different again.

'But give him some respect because he has done remarkably well, with Chelsea second in the league and in the semi-finals of the Champions League

'If he gets them into the final, he could be an outstanding manager because that's something Mourinho never achieved.

'But I just find it odd that when people talk about Chelsea it's as if they're always one defeat away from another disaster.

'Yet the fact is they don't get beat very often, and they've still got it all to play for.

'So give credit where it's due to Avram. He has kept his dignity intact, and I'm sure he'll be around for a few years to come.'

Bruce knows no-one will give his side a prayer of beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge where they have not lost in the league for just over four years, a run of 79 matches.

Add into the equation the fact Wigan have won just one of their 17 games away from home this season, and it is hard to see anything beyond a Chelsea home win.

Bruce, though, believes his side can upset the odds, adding: 'We recently went to Anfield and got a result, and then drew at home to Arsenal, so anything can happen.

'I know people will say 'little, lowly Wigan, they can't take on the mighty Chelsea and get anything can they?'.

'Well, of course we can if we approach it right, have a go and it is then possible.

'It will obviously be very difficult because they've not been beaten at home for four years, so we know the size of the task.

'One thing's for certain, if we play like we have done at home recently, then we're going to give Chelsea a hell of a game.

'We can do it. That's when you need to have a bit of belief, to have something about you.

'This is why we're in this profession, to play in big games and occasions like these.'