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By ESPN Staff

Buck surprised by Chelsea progress under Grant

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck has admitted the club never imagined they would get to the final of the Champions League after Jose Mourinho left last September.

Mourinho departed after the club's 1-1 home draw with Rosenborg in the Champions League and was swiftly replaced by 52-year-old director of football Avram Grant.

Buck also said there will an element of `poetry' when Chelsea step out to face Manchester United in the Champions League final in Moscow in two days' time because it is being held in the homeland of owner Roman Abramovich.

'In September, when Jose Mourinho left and Avram took over, we never would have imagined that we would be where we are now,' said Buck.

'We owe thanks to our entire management, coaching, playing and backroom staff for what we have achieved this season.

'Whatever happens, we have had an exciting season. Sure, we've had some disappointments but we've also had a number of highs.

'As Roman completes his fifth year of owning this great club, there is a bit of poetry in the Champions League final being held in the country where he was born.

'And of course it is particularly poignant since our club has never before been in a Champions League final.'

Meanwhile, captain John Terry has paid tribute to the forgotten members of Chelsea's Champions League campaign - midfielder Steve Sidwell and Peruvian striker Claudio Pizarro.

Both players were omitted from the squad for the knockout stages of the competition and will be frustrated observers again on Wednesday night.

'Two people who deserve a special mention are Steve and Claudio,' said Terry.

'They got left out of the European squad for this second part of the season, but they played important games earlier in the year.

'I haven't seen two better professionals. Sometimes they've played with the reserves when we've been away in Europe, sometimes they've trained with them, but you don't hear a peep out of them.

'They possess two fantastic attitudes and are both a credit to themselves. We all know it's been difficult for them at times but they've been absolutely superb.'


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