Chelsea coach Avram Grant paid a glowing tribute to Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson after the Londoners were beaten to the Premier League title by the Red Devils on Sunday.
“I want to congratulate Manchester United and Alex Ferguson,” Grant said.
“He is a great manager and a great person, I like him personally.
“It is amazing what he did.”
Grant was speaking after United successfully defended the title after a 2-0 win over Wigan, making Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Bolton at Stamford Bridge irrelevant.
Ferguson thus collected his tenth league title of a remarkable career.
Chelsea and United can now look forward to clashing in the all-English Champions League final in Moscow on May 21, a match Grant said was a “dream”.
“When you come to the final you want to win. We wanted to win the league as well but it wasn't ever in our hands,” he said.
The dour Israeli, who as a surprise replacement for the charismatic Jose Mourinho during the season, continued: “It was not easy this season, there were many, many good things… we had a very difficult time sometimes.
“We didn't start very good and then we played good football and then our big players got injured.
“We recovered very well with very good football so we can be proud.”
Grant sidestepped questions over his future amid speculation that Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard, who is leaving the Barcelona hotseat, or Russia coach Guus Hiddink, are being lined up to take over.
Asked if he has discussed his position with Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich who was in the crowd on Sunday, Grant said only that the Russian “wanted to come today and I was happy to see him today”.
Grant said he would “wait and see” if captain John Terry will be for the Champions League showdown after he dislocated an elbow early in the Bolton match and had to be stretchered off.
“We have time, we will see,” Grant said.
It was typical of Chelsea's frustrating day that they lost captain John Terry early on when he suffered a dislocated elbow while challenging for a cross.
Terry was stretchered off with his arm in a sling but his elbow was put back in place while the England defender was taken to hospital and he returned to the Bridge in time for the second half.
He is confident of being fit for the Champions League final and said: “They popped it back in before I got to hospital so I'm pleased with that.
“There's no break so I should be ok in three or four days. Fingers crossed, I should be ok for Moscow.
“I got back just before the start of the second half. I was following the two games in the dressing room, flicking back and forth on the television. When Manchester United got the second one that was it.”
Terry was left to rue Chelsea's repeated failure to kill off opponents after taking the lead but he conceded United were worthy champions.
“They are been very good this year. We respect them. They have been fantastic,” he said. “We dropped a few points late in games over the course of the season, as we did here, and I think that has cost us. But take nothing away from Man United, they have been very good.”
Terry and company have an immediate chance for revenge over United in the Champions League final. The centre-back admitted he is desperate to finally succeed in Europe after three semi-final defeats.
“United are top of the league and they deserve to be there. But Moscow is a different story and we are aiming for that,” Terry said.
“That has been the one missing from my list and a lot of the Chelsea players. I have always said that is a big trophy I want but I'm still disappointed we haven't won the league.”
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