Media question Grant but get few answers
LONDON (Reuters) - Newspapers took the unusual step on Friday of publishing a verbatim transcript of Avram Grant's baffling post-match press conference following Chelsea's 1-0 win at Everton on Thursday.
"Is this the most bizarre football interview ever" asked the London Evening Standard, while The Guardian printed the press conference transcript under the headline: "Grant bites his tongue and plays strange yes/no game."
The Sun pointedly asked: "Av you gone mad?", saying Avram Grant had turned into Avram Grunt by the way he handled his media conference.
Grant gave a series of curt answers to the media after his team's win, saying he didn't know whether Chelsea were still in the title race or not even though their win brought them to within two points of Manchester United with three matches to play. United have four matches left and visit Chelsea on April 26.
However at a strange post-match press conference, Grant gave terse answers to reporters' questions.
Asked if Chelsea are still in the title race he replied: "I don't know."
Asked if the win meant Chelsea were back in the title race, he replied: "I don't know." Asked if it was a relief to get a win he replied: "Yes".
Asked what pleased him about the performance he replied, after a long pause:, "I don't know."
Asked if he would like to gain some positive publicity for the result "rather than this bizarre silence", he replied: "I'm sorry. You can write whatever you want and I can answer what I want."
Chelsea were upset the match was re-scheduled for a Thursday night because Sky Sports, who hold the Premier League rights, wanted to screen the match live as part of the title race.
Asked if he was upset Sky TV moved the game to the Thursday he replied: "Maybe its because of you. I don't know. I am OK. Sky is Ok. I enjoy watching them."
Grant came under intense pressure from the media after Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge by Wigan Athletic on Monday night, a result that dented their title hopes.
Asked if his attitude in the press conference was a protest against the newspapers he replied: "No, why?."
Why else are you refusing to ask our questions he was asked. "I answer every question" he replied.
When asked whether he had ever played the yes/no game, Chelsea's press officer Simon Taylor said: I don't think this is really going anywhere" and Grant left the room.
Earlier he had told BBC Radio 5 Live that his side had controlled the game against Everton and the performance was better than Monday's against Wigan.
"We controlled the game. We had chances to make it 2-0 or 3-0 but our last pass was a bit sloppy. We scored a fantastic goal though. Tonight we wanted to score again to wrap it up, but in the last few minutes it is important to make sure you win the points."
He added: "I've been in life for many years now and pressure is part of it. Journalists who say we are having a bad season are trying to do their job, but maybe sometimes not in the right way."
(editing by Justin Palmer)
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