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Grant out to inflict more pain

PORTSMOUTH, March 23- Avram Grant insists he will feel little sense of satisfaction if his Portsmouth side put another dent in Chelsea's Premier League title hopes at Fratton Park here on Wednesday.
Grant was sacked by Chelsea despite leading them to within John Terry’s missed penalty of lifting the European Cup two years ago.

The Israeli’s former team arrive on the south coast following a nightmare week that saw them dumped out of the Champions League by an Inter Milan side managed by another ex-Chelsea boss in Jose Mourinho and then losing ground in the domestic title race in a 1-1 draw at Blackburn.

That left Chelsea four points behind leaders Manchester United, the reigning champions, and a fresh setback at bottom of the table Portsmouth could do irreversible damage to their Premier League ambitions this season.

"Chelsea are a great team and I do not wish them any harm," Grant said.

"I have some great memories from my time there and but for one penalty things could have worked out much different.

"I was not happy when I left because I thought I had done a good job, taking them to the Champions League final, second in the Premier League and the League Cup final," he added.

"I still speak to a lot of their players and I want them to do well, apart from when they are playing Portsmouth.

"Although they lost to Inter, they are a great team with great players and they know what to do in this kind of situation.

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"But I’m not the Chelsea manager any more. I have enough problems of my own," said Grant, whose cash-strapped side face all but certain relegation after being hit with a nine point penalty last week for entering administration.

Chelsea needed a late Frank Lampard penalty to beat Portsmouth 2-1 when the two teams met in London in December and Grant believes Pompey, who fought back to defeat fellow strugglers Hull 3-2 on Saturday, can cause an upset.

"In the first game against them, we played without three or four players against their best team and it was close," he said.

"We were not far away from a good result – we gave away a penalty in the last few moments and I think anything can happen and it is up to us to play with the same spirit."

Chelsea’s latest setback came after owner Roman Abramovich appeared at the club’s training ground to tell his players they were under performing.

Midfielder John Obi Mikel admits Carlo Ancelotti’s men are playing for their futures at Stamford Bridge.

"I think if we keep going like this then it is down to that," the Nigeria international said. "But we have to fight as a team, not as individuals.

"The owner just came to show support. He’s a football fan and understands but at the same time he wants us to put things right," added Mikel, who is one of those players rumoured to be on his way out of the club.

"Everyone was shattered after losing to Inter, which is why he came over to tell us to keep going. All we can do now is look forward to Wednesday and, hopefully, put things right.

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"I think the belief, mentality and everything is still there. In football sometimes you have a bad spell and we are having ours right now. We made the mistakes so we have to repair it."

Chelsea will be without Serbia defender Branislav Ivanovic, who hobbled off at half time against Blackburn, so Yuri Zhirkov comes into the team.

Portsmouth cannot play striker Aruna Dindane because of a clause in his loan agreement meaning they will have to pay French club Lens four million pounds to buy him permanently after one more appearance.

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