Former Chelsea boss Avram Grant has joked that Roman Abramovich would have sent him to Siberia if he’d recorded the same Premier League finish as Frank Lampard.
The Blues ended the 2019/20 campaign, Lampard’s first as their manager, in fourth place in the table, and they will contest the FA Cup final against Arsenal at Wembley on Saturday.
Grant, previously director of football, became Chelsea boss following the departure of Jose Mourinho in September 2007, and led the Blues to a second-place finish and a place in the Champions League final, where they lost on penalties to Manchester United.
The Israeli was soon replaced in the hotseat by Luiz Felipe Scolari ahead of the 2008/09 season, and although he has admiration for the job that his former midfielder Lampard has done, he is in no doubt that the Englishman has it easier at Stamford Bridge.
“I think it’s a good season, especially compared to how it began, without being allowed to buy players,” Grant told Stats Perform News, viaGoal.com.
“Compared to the requirement of Roman Abramovich, if I told him some years ago that fourth place would be good for him, probably he would send me to Siberia, but because of the situation before, I think it’s a good place. For Frank, I think it’s a big achievement.
“It’s his first year as a coach in the Premier League. Of course, he was a player with a lot of experience, but you cannot compare a player to a manager, and I think he’s managed the team very well.
“A lot of young players and he knew how to play them, how to give them a rest and when to push them. It’s a good base for the future, I was very pleased with his performance.”
Grant added that he knew Lampard would make a good manager from their time together.
“I was sure, because he was always a leader. When you spoke with him, he had a different view about football,” he said.
“In my team at Chelsea there was a lot of leaders. I thought [Michael] Ballack would be a good coach, Didier [Drogba], John Terry, because there was a good personality and a lot of knowledge about football.
“Of course, having the knowledge is not the same, you have to pass the knowledge to players, you have to deal with the owner, the media, you have to deal with the supporters, but at the end of the day, you depend on the performance on the pitch – it’s results, especially at the top.”