It took a Michael Essien goal against Everton last night to keep Chelsea’s title chances at slim rather than none, a situation scarcely lost on Avram Grant. The embattled manager proved postmatch that when it comes to effusive charm, Bill Belichick’s got a lot to learn. From Friday’s Independent :

A deserved win Avram?

What particularly pleased you about the performance?
I’m pleased.

What in particular pleased you?
After an eight second delay: I don’t know.

Is it a relief to win here?

You seem lost for words by the performance. Are you more satisfied with the performance or the victory?

You seem distracted. Do you have a problem?

No problem.

Is there an issue?
No. I’m ok. I have nothing to say.

Do you have a message for the Chelsea fans?
You represent the Chelsea fans?

They must believe you are still in the title race, do you have a message for them?

No message.

Does this result mean you are back in it now?

I don’t know.

How many steps have you climbed to undertake this press conference?
I don’t know.

You seem less voluble than usual. Is it because of Sky TV moving the game to a Thursday?

Maybe it’s because of you. I don’t know. I am ok.

You are saying that you don’t know if you are still in the title race?

Is it easier to say nothing Avram?
I don’t know what to answer. It is a good question. I don’t know what to answer.

Is this because Sky…?
No. Sky is ok. I enjoy watching them.

Is it a protest against newspapers?

No. Why?

Why else would you come in and refuse to answer our questions?
I answer every question.

You are two points behind Manchester United and you don’t know if you are still in the title race?


Have you told the players that you don’t know if you are back in the title race?

What I tell the players is something else. You want me to tell you what I say to the players?

We just want you to answer the question really. Are you in the title race?

I don’t know.

Would you not like to gain some positive publicity for the result rather than this bizarre silence?

I’m sorry. You can write whatever you want and I can answer what I want.

Do you feel under pressure to deliver a trophy. Is that the reason for the monosyllabic answers?

Are you upset? Do you feel you have been misrepresented?
Maybe I am upset because it is a bad season.

Did Michael Essien faint?
He had some problems, but he is ok.

Michael Ballack?

What’s his problem?
Ask the doctor.

He’s not here Avram.
We’ll call him then.