Chelsea manager Avram Grant has slammed Alan Curbishley after the West Ham boss admitted he wants Manchester United to win the Premier League.
Grant’s side are level on points with United going into the final two matches of the season and Curbishley has a key role to play in the gripping title race as his team face United at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Chelsea, who travel to Newcastle 48 hours later, need West Ham to upset United, and Grant was furious when he saw Curbishley claim this week that it would be an injustice if Sir Alex Ferguson’s side don’t win the league because they play the most entertaining football.
While Grant conceded there is no reason to doubt West Ham’s determination to get a result, he was understandably disappointed that Curbishley had gone public with his views when his team are still involved in the battle.
“I’m not doubting the integrity of West Ham and I don’t have a reason to doubt the integrity of Alan Curbishley but I think it is wrong he says things like this because he is involved in the game against United,” Grant said.
“West Ham won against them in the last three or four games so I don’t think it is a good idea to say things like this.
“I don’t know what to say but I think it is wrong.”
After nearly 22 years at United, Ferguson is well established as the godfather of Premier League managers. He has a network of friends and former players now in charge at top-flight clubs including Wigan’s Steve Bruce, who United play in their last match, but Grant is hoping their professional pride will ensure they don’t do Ferguson any favours.
“I heard so many rumours in the last few weeks. I heard that the referees would be with United, I heard this manager was a friend of Ferguson,” Grant said.
“My head is full of rumours so I decided to concentrate on what I have to do and trust the integrity of others.
“West Ham are more interested in the success of their club, to win their games. If they have wishes for others, you have to ask them.”
If Chelsea do lose out on the title Grant will still be in a position of some strength after Wednesday’s win over Liverpool sent the Blues to their first Champions League final.
Even Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich couldn’t fail to be impressed by that. The Russian missed the Liverpool game but Grant insisted his conversations with Abramovich since the game suggested he had no reason to worry about his future.
“I have a feeling that you know that he’s happy, very happy. We are in contact, and he’s happy,” Grant said.
“My daughter, Romi, is 12 years old and she always ask why the media ask these questions about my relationship with Roman,” he said. “I say they’re worried about me. The relationship is good. Everything will be ok.
“Do I look worried? No. I need to do my job all the time, to look for the present and the future.
“About my personal life, I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow. Professionally, I know what Chelsea need to do tomorrow, a week from now or two years from now.”
The elation of beating United and Liverpool in the space of five days to breathe new life into Chelsea’s season has given way to the thought that this could be only the beginning of an improbably glorious end to the campaign.
Grant is only three games away from possibly winning the Premier League and Champions League double and the Israeli said: “I always like to think that the best week hasn’t come yet.
“Since I’ve taken this job as a manager, every time you win a big game you think it’s your best. But it’s been an exciting week.
“April 30th is an historic day at Chelsea now. Every fan will remember that day now. It was a big, big step getting to the Champions League final.”
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