Shevchenko backs Chelsea coach Grant

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KIEV, Oct 6 (Reuters) Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko is satisfied with the way Avram Grant has taken charge of the side but said his team mates were taken by surprise by the departure of Jose Mourinho.

''I cannot deny that this was completely unexpected for the majority of the players,'' Shevchenko told the daily Trud.

''With Mourinho, the team on the whole played not too badly even though there were some setbacks, like the draw against the Norwegian side Rosenborg in the first round of the Champions League.'' But of new coach Grant, the Ukraine international said: ''(He) is not on his first day here. Everyone knows and likes him.

''All the players are now ready to support their coach in a complicated situation. In the win against Valencia (in midweek), Grant showed his worth as a specialist.'' Newspaper reports last month said a row between John Terry and Mourinho had precipitated the coach's departure, something the Chelsea captain has denied.

Shevchenko also told the newspaper he did not play against Valencia in the 2-1 Champions League victory on Wednesday because of leg injury and the coach wanted him to rest.

He also sought to end speculation that he wanted to return to Milan.

''I don't even want to comment on that,'' he told the daily.

''I play for Chelsea. Full stop.'' REUTERS PDS VC2105

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