Indian football heading in the right direction: Former Chelsea boss Avram Grant

Avram Grant, the technical advisor of NorthEast United (Image: NorthEast United)

New Delhi, January 9: Former Chelsea manager Avram Grant says India is doing the right things in football, days after being tasked with reviving NorthEast United's fortunes in the Indian Super League.

India might seem like an odd destination for a man who has coached three English Premier League teams - Chelsea, Portsmouth and West Ham - but for Grant it was quite an easy decision to make.

"It wasn't difficult. I wanted to see football in different places. I was in Thailand, Serbia, Africa; I enjoyed very much. I enjoy seeing countries that want to develop and India wants to develop its football. I think they are doing the right thing. There is lot to do.

"It's a process but for me I came for a short time to see how it is and share my experience. It's an easy decision," said Grant, who last coached the Ghana national team.

The Israeli coach, who took Chelsea to the final of the UEFA Champions League in 2008, is now technical advisor to NorthEast United FC and lost no time in agreeing to help the team when long-time friend John Abraham, who owns the club, sought his expertise.

Since joining NorthEast United, Grant has halted the team's run of four losses in a row and helped them secure a 2-1 win against FC Goa in his first match in-charge.

Grant, it seems, is applying the same principles at NorthEast United that he used at Chelsea FC when he took over a disjointed team from Jose Mourinho in September 2007.

"One thing that I pay attention all my life is the mental side of training. You need to be strong mentally when things are not going well. That's what I told the players. I am sometimes advisor to big (business) companies and that's what I emphasise.

"In football, there is a lot of pressure from people outside. My team was strong. Even when FC Goa equalised, my team showed good spirit and mentality," said Grant.

NorthEast United had lost four matches in a row and had just four points from their first seven matches. They now have seven points and believe they can turn the corner in the second phase, despite all the pressure.

"Pressure is the name of the game. If you are at the top, there is pressure to stay there. If you are at the bottom, pressure is to come up. All my life in different places, different countries, the pressure is always there in football.

"It's good because it pushes you to do more and more. We had four points before this game, so there was pressure. We took three points and there is more pressure. It's good, I like it," said the former Israel coach.

The technical advisor remains pleased with the attitude and effort of his team. "The players want to learn, give everything for the team," he said.

Story first published: Tuesday, January 9, 2018, 20:14 [IST]
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