Avram Grant is one of the most experienced coaches in world football having began his coaching career at just 18-years-old with his local club in Israel Hapoel Petah Tikva. After 14 years as a youth coach, he was promoted to head coach where he led the club to two Toto Cup victories, in 1990 and 1991, thus returning Petka Tikva to the top of Israeli football for the first time in 25 years.
In 1991 Grant moved to title rivals Maccabi Tel Aviv for the first of two four year spells, winning the league title in his first season in charge by a 13-point margin. The 1992/3 Toto Cup and the 1993/4 Israel State Cup preceded his second Israeli championship triumph.
After a season at the helm of Hapoel Haifa, Grant returned to Maccabi Tel Aviv where he added the 1999 Toto Cup to his growing collection of accolades. Two seasons with Maccabi Haifa - and back-to-back league titles - led to Grant's appointment as the boss of the Israel national team. Despite failing to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, Israel were undefeated in their group with four wins and six draws.
In June 2006, Grant made his move to England when he became the Technical Director at Portsmouth. After a season at Fratton Park, Grant was appointed Director of Football at Chelsea and following the departure of Jose Mourinho in September 2007, he was thrust into the manager's role on a temporary basis. Despite being an unpopular choice initially with Blues fans, Chelsea fought their way back into the title race under Grant and were a John Terry penalty away from winning the 2008 Champions League.
A return to Portsmouth, where he was appointed manager following the sacking of Paul Hart, saw Grant lead the club through its most troubled season when they entered administration and suffered relegation to the Championship. However, it was not all doom and gloom with Grant guiding Pompey to the FA Cup final where they lost narrowly to former club Chelsea.
After resigning from Portsmouth, Grant was appointed West Ham manager in June 2010. Unfortunately, his time at Upton Park proved ill-fated and after the club's relegation, Grant was dismissed from his position.
Now in Serbia with FK Partizan, Grant is now embarking on the latest chapter of his distinguished and varied managerial career. Check out or Q&A with the 57-year-old as he discusses Chelsea, life in Belgrade, and the difference between managing at the top and bottom of the Premier League.
How are you finding the job at Partizan Belgrade?
I think it is a very interesting job because this team is a team I like very much. I like to create things, and more than 50 percent of the team comes from the Partizan academy. The club is ready to give them a chance, and this is very important because young players need a chance.
What made you move to manage in another new country?
To me it is very exciting to see a new culture. I still love England. I had offers from many countries, but the vision of the club (Partizan) to do something in Europe really appealed to me. Of course, we will not win the Champions League. For this time in my life, this role is good. I am fully focused on being successful here.
How do you cope with the ups and downs of management? You were a missed (John Terry) penalty away from winning the Champions League with Chelsea in 2008?
The things that are not in your control, you can do nothing about. Portsmouth also had a penalty in the final against Chelsea two years, and (Kevin-Prince Boateng) missed it. These things depend not on the manager. I concentrate on things I can control. Of course, when you miss a penalty in the final of the Champions League, you are always reminded of it. I gave a lecture a few months ago in Singapore. I forgot about the penalty, but was asked about it. And now you ask me about it. It was unfortunate, but these things happen.
How proud are you of your season at Chelsea?
I’m not arrogant, but when I look back I think that was the best season for Chelsea in recent years in terms of the way the side played. They played great football, and showed great character. One of the strengths of this team was how we recovered from a poor start to the season. We were struggling a bit when I took over, but we beat all the big teams such as Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool. We played the best football in the league and almost became champions of England and champions of Europe. I am proud of that season, and how we played.
What are the demands like at Chelsea? Working under the owner Roman Abramovich?
Everybody speaks about the pressure of working at Chelsea, but it is a good pressure. This is better than any other pressure. I am now in Serbia, and there is pressure to do good things. There is always pressure to be the best, but that has to be there. At Chelsea, you get everything to be the best; great players and great facilities. The owner wanted the best for the club. I came to Chelsea with the long-term programme to be the best. Unfortunately, the job was cut in the middle, but I enjoyed it. Everybody looks at pressure being a negative thing, but it is not negative.
What do you think of the new Chelsea?
When you sign a young coach, you have to give him some time. He will do good things if he is given time to show what he knows. One of the things I learned at Chelsea is that you have to handle things that go on off the park. It is not just a football club. Villas-Boas is a very nice guy and did good things at Porto, but he needs time.
How do you help a struggling player? A guy like Fernando Torres?
People forget that even big stars are not computers. You don’t press button one then press button two and get a result. They are human beings with feelings. One of the things you have to think about is that even big players can lose confidence quickly. Torres was one of the best in world a year ago. He is lacking confidence. I know a player that does what he can do with Liverpool and the Spanish national team is still the same player. Nothing has changed.
What is the difference between managing at the top and bottom of the Barclays Premier League?
This is a good question. Every team has a different target. At Chelsea, the target was to be an exciting side to play with style like Barcelona. That is what I tried to do. But you have to have the money to achieve this.
At Portsmouth, I had a different remit. I came to the team after they had lost seven straight games - there were a lot of problems. I had to keep the team alive, but also give the supporters a team to be proud of. Portsmouth belongs to the one city while Chelsea and West Ham United are one of many clubs in their city.
Managing Portsmouth was the most emotional year of my life. There was nothing there and so much uncertainty yet we put so much effort to try to win the FA Cup. The vision at West Ham was to build a mini-Arsenal and build from the youth academy. We didn’t play bad football, but we couldn’t translate the football into points. For me, we didn’t reach the target. It was a disappointing year for me.
For more insight from Avram Grant and other leading managers plus exclusive Barclays Premier League highlights go to www.yahoo.co.uk/sport