Grant heaps pressure on United opponents Wigan

May 5, 2008

Avram Grant expects Wigan to go for broke against Manchester United on Sunday - in the best traditions of English football.

Even though Wigan are managed by former Old Trafford favourite Steve Bruce, the Chelsea coach expects them to give their all.

Grant is looking for a favour on the final day with his side locked on points at the top of the table with United after a 2-0 victory at Newcastle.

Chelsea, meanwhile, face Bolton at Stamford Bridge with an inferior goal difference.

Grant, however, remains upbeat after second half goals from Michael Ballack and Florent Malouda kept them in the hunt right until the end.

'For more than 30 years I've visited English football, at least five times a year since I was a boy,' said the Chelsea boss.

'Even when I didn't have much money I came here. One thing I like is that you play football until the end, not like other countries.

'Sometimes I'm too positive and too optimistic, but I believe in the traditions of English football.

'We need to win first and it's not easy for them to play at Wigan. I don't believe that Bruce will give the game to Manchester United.

'Maybe we can win 18-0 on Sunday, if we play against a team that will let us. I don't think so, though.'

Wigan face United on the back of a superb victory at Aston Villa and Grant's theme was echoed by inspirational captain John Terry.

He told Sky Sports: 'They are on a great run at the minute. They came to the Bridge and put in a very good performance and since then, they have picked up.

'Wigan will do the Premier League justice and they will go out there wanting to beat Manchester United.

'Hopefully they will do. We have worked our socks off all year, so it will be disappointing if they don't.

'We saw the likes of many teams yesterday putting out full-strength teams and really going for it against some teams who have got nothing to go for.

'Wigan are safe now - hopefully, with a great manager like Steve Bruce, they are going to go for it.

'We have still got a tough game at home to Bolton, but if we pick up the three points, as we did today, we have got a very good chance.'

Yet Chelsea struggled in the first half after a stamina-sapping victory against Liverpool in midweek which saw them secure a place in the Champions League final against Manchester United.

Michael Owen could have had a brace for Newcastle before the break but the title contenders reacted after strong words from Grant.

Ballack made the breakthrough with a fine header and Malouda made the game safe thanks to a clinical finish.

Grant said: 'Sometimes I have a bad temper, when I'm made angry and all the staff said what they needed to say.

'I'm not so proud when I shout at the players, but you need it sometimes.

'We didn't play well in the first half. In all the time that I've been here we've been improving all the time.

'But the players aren't robots. We changed the system and they got used to it very well and the second half we dominated.

'It's been a great week, not only because we are winning but because we are also playing excellent football. I hope that continues.'