Grant in positive mood after win

26 April 2008
Avram Grant says he is 'optimistic' that Chelsea can win the title after Michael Ballack's two goals, including a late penalty, helped beat Manchester United 2-1 and re-ignite the championship race. Chelsea are now level on points with the leaders with two games to go and manager Grant believes they can now go all the way. Chelsea face matches away to Newcastle and home to Bolton while United, still top because of their superior goal difference. take on West Ham at Old Trafford and Wigan away.

Grant said: "I'm optimistic, and I have to be. I'm confident always and I have full confidence in the team. We need to win these two games and hope United lose one point.

"I think we can win the title. If you are not optimistic at this stage you don't need to be in sport."

Chelsea played against United without star midfielder Frank Lampard, whose mother died in midweek.And Ballack paid tribute to the England man after his first goal by revealing a specially-prepared shirt with 'Pat Lampard' on the back.

Grant, too, was quick to send his condolences after the match.

He said: "We have all the sympathy for Frank - you saw that after the first goal. We are a big, big family -all the staff and the players. What's happened for Frank makes all of us very sad and I would like to send my sympathies to his family in the name of everyone."

Chelsea will now leave a decision on whether Lampard plays against Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final on Wednesday in the hands of the player.

Grant added; "We will leave this to him, it's not easy what's happened. We need to leave the decision for him and I will respect any decision he makes.

"Football is very important but there are things more important. I always said to the players on the way to excellency you need to be human.

"Frank wants to play all the time, when I put him on the bench he didn't feel good with this. He wants to play. But some things happened that we need to respect."