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Top 5: First XI costs in Premier League

Transfers 39 minutes ago
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 28, 2007

Snow problem for Chelsea on Rosenborg pitch

Chelsea manager Avram Grant is not concerned about the state of the Rosenborg pitch as he bids to steer his side into the knockout stages of the Champions League on Wednesday night.

A win for the Blues over Group B's surprise package in snowbound Trondheim will put Chelsea into the next stage but first they will have to overcome difficult playing conditions in Norway.

The pitch was rock-hard for Chelsea's training session on Tuesday night after weekend snowfalls and dipping temperatures made life difficult for Grant's men.

But the 52-year-old Israeli coach said: 'I saw the pitch and it is not so good.

'But it is the same for both sides. We know we are playing against a very good team. The first game at Stamford Bridge was not so good for us - so we want to win.'

Rosenborg shocked Chelsea in the opening Group B game with a 1-1 draw - it proved to be the last match in charge for Jose Mourinho, who was then replaced by Grant.

He now believes the failure to win that opening game will act as a spur to clinch a place in the next round.

'I think that result will be a motivation,' admitted Grant.

'The players like to win. We are never happy when we don't win. The first game seems a long time ago now but the ground was half-empty, the fans were booing and the result was not so good.

'But before our game against Valencia, everyone said they were the best team in the group. But Rosenborg deserve to be second in the group.

'It is a big surprise to see Rosenborg second but to beat Valencia twice is not so easy.'

While Grant was planning to defeat the Norwegians, his thoughts were also very much on events back in England.

The Chelsea coach wants 'positive' talks with the Football Association after insisting his side are being targeted by card-happy officials in the Premier League.

Grant unleashed an icy blast at the FA after Michael Essien's red card appeal was rejected and Chelsea were charged with failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion following his dismissal for violent conduct against Derby on Saturday.

Grant insisted that the FA were wrong to charge them with any offence even though Chelsea's players surrounded referee Andre Marriner in the wake of Essien's dismissal.

Grant declared: 'I think the hand is on whistle too easy against us. All the red cards are too easy, they are not red cards.

'I just know the facts. The red card against Man Utd (Mikel John Obi) was not a red card, the red card against Fulham was not a red card for Didier Drogba and the red card for Michael was not a red card.

'It cost us points in two of those games but I don't think it is fair. I don't know what the reason is but I see the facts - the red cards are too easily being given against us.'

Grant was equally defensive over the allegations that Chelsea's players were again guilty of putting pressure on a match official.

He declared: 'Even the red card in our game against Man Utd, the first player who went to the referee was a Man Utd player. The red card on Saturday, if you see the players of Derby, they went to him before my players. Something is too easy against Chelsea. We need to think about it together.

'I want to do something in a positive way with the FA but we need to do something. There are good referees in England but not all the refs are the same.'