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Last Updated: Friday, 22 February 2008, 10:04 GMT
Ramos v Grant
Tottenham will face Chelsea in the Carling Cup final
By Sam Lyon & Chris Bevan

It has been a season of change at Tottenham and Chelsea and the clubs enter Sunday's Carling Cup final with managers who have barely been in charge for eight months between them.

While Juande Ramos's replacement of Martin Jol at White Hart Lane was one of football's worst-kept secrets, Jose Mourinho's exit as Chelsea manager and the subsequent appointment of Avram Grant came as much more of a shock.

However, although neither move was initially welcomed by supporters, Tottenham's revolution and Chelsea's evolution have both borne fruit at home and abroad.

Here, BBC Sport looks at the impact the two men have had.


Martin Jol
TOTTENHAM: Martin Jol sacked on 26 October

Spaniard Ramos found himself with a squad that had won only once in 10 league matches, were 18th in the league and that had a woeful defensive record.

"I arrived to find a depressed bunch who didn't believe in themselves," said Ramos. "We needed a total transformation."

His first moves, with the transfer window still months away, were to bring in fitness expert Marcos Alvarez and then Leeds assistant boss Gus Poyet as first-team coach.

Doctor Antonio Escribano - a conditioning specialist - was not long in arriving either.

Jose Mourinho
CHELSEA: Jose Mourinho left on 20 September

It was a turbulent time at Stamford Bridge when Jose Mourinho left by 'mutual consent'.

The decision to appoint Grant as Mourinho's replacement was met by derision, and the Israeli and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich were both barracked by Chelsea fans at their next home match against Fulham.

Talk of a divided squad and senior players doubting Grant's credentials and ability led to fears of a mass exodus of talent.

No sooner had Grant been named as boss than there were reports linking everyone from Guus Hiddink to Marco van Basten to his job.


Juande Ramos
Fitness first the key for Ramos

Despite the acrimonious nature of his departure, Jol had enjoyed success at Spurs and Ramos has deterred little from the Dutchman's preferred first XI and 4-4-2 formation.

Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane have continued up front, while those who had apparently under-performed under Jol - Jermaine Jenas, Steed Malbranque, Michael Dawson - have been given a chance to re-prove themselves.

Where the Spaniard and assistant Poyet differed from Jol, though, was in their philosophy.

Unlike under Jol, Malbranque and Aaron Lennon have been asked to stay out wide as much as possible, while not neglecting their defensive responsibilities.


Ramos is also a big believer in his full-backs providing an attacking threat from deep and he expects his central midfielders to be strong in both defence and attack - a role in which Jenas, in particular, has thrived.

At the epicentre of all these subtle tactical changes, though, is the conditioning of the players.

Ramos immediately ordered the squad to lose a total of 100kg in weight, scheduled double training sessions, completely overhauled the players' diet and employed Escribano's vegetable pulp to aid recovery after training.

Within a couple of months the players were all running approximately 1,000m further per match each and Tottenham's play was defined by running, work-rate, pace and enthusiasm.

"The key thing is the players now believe in themselves," Ramos stated. "We've won back our pride and aggression."

Avram Grant
Grant makes Chelsea more stylish?

The Israeli claims he has improved Chelsea's style of play since taking charge, saying: "In the midfield, we pass the ball more than we did before.

"We are concentrating on attacking football and how to move the ball."

But, in reality, how much has changed?

Chelsea still play in the same 4-3-3 formation used by Mourinho, using one holding midfielder and two wingers who have to get back and defend too.

Grant uses the same players, apart from 15m January signing Nicholas Anelka, and his side remain a solid unit that, just like Mourinho's, is most effective on the counter-attack.

Grant may argue that his side is less direct but probably the greatest difference comes when his side is defending a lead.

Instead of Mourinho's safety-first attitude, which relied on restricting the opposition's chances, Grant is willing to commit more men forward and look for another goal to kill off the game.

"I believe the best defence is when you attack and when you hold the ball," Grant explained. "You cannot do it for 90 minutes in the game but if you score one goal then the best way to defend is to continue attacking because it pushes the other team back."


Jermaine Jenas
Ramos works with what he has got

Ramos knew upon his arrival that he would not be able to dip into the transfer market for over two months and quickly set about working with the squad that Jol had left him.

Spanish football expert Michael Robinson told BBC Sport before the appointment that Ramos could "turn ordinary players into world beaters".

He has made us a stronger unit and allowed Aaron Lennon and myself, for example, to do what we do best

Jermaine Jenas on Ramos

And the stark improvement of the likes of Jenas, Tom Huddlestone - who has been the most public beneficiary of the Spaniard's dietary modifications - Malbranque and Jamie O'Hara is there for all to see.

"He has made us a stronger unit, allowed Aaron Lennon and myself, for example, to do what we do best and he has made me a lot cleverer about my play," said Jenas.

Perhaps benefitting from their extended run in the team, Berbatov and Keane's partnership has gone from strength to strength, while defensively the injury-plagued Ledley King has at least played a small part in the Ramos revolution.

However, it was of little surprise that Ramos dipped into the transfer market at the first opportunity in January and there was no disguising where he felt the side needed to be improved.

Jonathan Woodgate, Alan Hutton, Gilberto and Chris Gunter all arrived in January - and all were defenders.

Nicolas Aneka and Avram Grant
Grant digs deep into his squad

Grant has had to do things the hard way - well, as hard as things can be when you inherit a squad that has won five major trophies in the past three seasons - with several key members of his squad constantly unavailable since he took charge.

Inspirational captain John Terry missed most of the first seven weeks of the Grant reign with a broken cheekbone and knee problem and only returned on Saturday after two months out with a broken foot.

Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, John Mikel Obi and Michael Essien were away for most of January on Africa Cup of Nations duty and Grant has also had to cope without Frank Lampard, Petr Cech, Michael Ballack, Wayne Bridge, Andriy Shevchenko, Florent Malouda and Ashley Cole at different times too.

But those injury problems are largely behind Chelsea now and their squad has also been bolstered by the arrival of Anelka in January.

That leaves Grant's biggest problem as deciding whether to play Drogba and Anelka in the same team.


Juande Ramos
Ramos the incorporative disciplinarian

Ramos took over at Tottenham with a reputation as a hard task-master, a man of such drive, focus and ambition that he was labelled 'granite-face' in Spain - and few can argue that the Spaniard has not enforced a sense of discipline upon his side.

Improved fitness, an increased work-rate and an overhauled diet have worked - just ask keeper Paul Robinson - that has left the likes of Berbatov simply stating "we listen to him and we do what we're told".

However, alongside that disciplined manner is a warm side rarely seen by the media and those outside the club.

And while Jol was accused at times of favouring senior members of the squad over others, Ramos has been widely praised for his incorporative approach. Everyone gets the same treatment and opportunities, regardless of age.

Ramos once said "I don't have a first XI - whoever plays the best and trains the best starts". It has certainly proved enough to keep everyone on their toes.

That Ramos also enjoys a much better relationship with Tottenham sporting director Damien Comolli than Jol reportedly did only serves to underline an apparently far more harmonious club these days.

Avram Grant
Grant the focused charmer

Grant's personality is just as strong as that of his predecessor but it could not be more different.

Unlike the self-anointed 'Special One', the Israeli's mantra is to be quiet but effective, yet his hangdog expression masks a charming character who is a popular figure in the football world.

He has a different style, a calm style, and he talks to the players individually

Frank Lampard on Grant

The Israeli has a strong relationship with Frank Arnesen, Chelsea's head of scouting and youth development, and has nurtured a similar bond with his players.

Blues midfielder Frank Lampard said: "He has done well. It is not easy to follow Mourinho but he has done it in his own way and he has not tried to be anything he is not."

"He has a different style, a calm style, and he talks to the players individually."

There are still some people yet to be wholly won over though - the fans.

Chelsea supporters idolised Mourinho and still chant his name. Grant is yet to earn the same adulation but a victory at Wembley on Sunday will help his cause.


Gus Poyet and Juande Ramos
Getting to grips with Ramos' philosophy

Although Spurs continue to sit in the lower half of the table - a league record of seven wins, four draws and four defeats has hardly set the world alight - Ramos has excelled in the cups.

Age: 53
Born: Ciudad Real, Spain
Has managed: Alcoyano (93-94), Levante (94-95), Logrones (95-96), Barcelona B (96-97), Lleida (97-98), Rayo Vallecano (1998-2001), Betis (01-02), Espanyol (02), Malaga (03-04), Sevilla (05-07), Tottenham (Oct 07-)
Overall record at Spurs
Won: 14 Drawn: 8 Lost: 5

Despite their FA Cup exit to Manchester United, Tottenham are among the favourites to win the Uefa Cup while the Carling Cup final represents a big chance of silverware.

And it has not been lost on fans and commentators alike that already Spurs are starting to test the top sides on the pitch.

That was proven by their 5-1 Carling Cup semi-final demolition of rivals Arsenal and the fact it took a last-gasp own goal for visitors Manchester United to snatch a draw last month.

The record of Ramos's former club Sevilla against the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain was even more impressive and as one expert has said: "Ramos appears to need only one look at a side before he gets the better of them tactically."

Avram Grant
Impressive to a point from Grant

Grant's 35 games in charge of Chelsea have produced 24 wins, nine draws and two defeats, to Manchester United and Arsenal, both away, in the Premier League.

Age: 51
Born: Petah Tikva, Israel
Has managed: Maccabi Tel Aviv (91-95) (97-00), Maccabi Haifa (00-02), Israel (02-05), Chelsea (Sep 07-)
Director of Football: Portsmouth (06-07) Chelsea (Jul-Sep 07)
Overall record at Chelsea
Won: 24 Drawn: 9 Lost: 2

It is a run that has kept the Blues in the hunt for four trophies this season - all three domestic competitions and the Champions League.

Under the Israeli, the Blues have scored 59 goals and conceded 18 - keeping 21 clean sheets.

Impressive? Yes, of course. But remember Grant is still using Mourinho's squad - this is not a team he has built himself.

And those two defeats have come against the two teams above the Blues in the Premier League table - Arsenal and Manchester United.

So, regardless of his record elsewhere, it is in the big games where the jury is still out on Grant. The next one of those comes at Wembley on Sunday.


Juande Ramos
Ramos revolution starting to tick

Times they are changing in the blue-and-white half of North London.

Ramos's impact at Tottenham has been far-reaching on and off the pitch and Spurs are becoming a slimmer, fitter, more exciting and more tactically astute outfit under the Spaniard.

Whether they will be able to raise their game enough to beat Chelsea on the day is one for debate - the Blues are favourites and favourites with good reason.

But Jenas, for example, says: "The manager has got the experience of winning cups against big teams. That could be the difference for us."

And whether Ramos leads Tottenham to glory on Sunday afternoon or not, the future certainly looks bright for the north Londoners.

Avram Grant
Grant evolution still untested

Initially seen as a stop-gap, there is no doubting that Grant is now part of Chelsea's long-term future.

He signed a four-year contract in December 2007 and is in the process of obtaining the Uefa pro license coaching qualification required to formally coach in the Premier League.

The final word on Grant's prospects goes to Chelsea legend and BBC Sport pundit Marcel Desailly, who says: "The life of a coach is between three and four years.

"Mourinho was on his fourth, he was kept a bit longer because the players loved him.

"Forget Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger and the time they have been at their clubs because they are special.

"Grant now has three or four years to express himself and create a team that will win the big trophies."

Doubts will remain over Grant until he starts to win things so the best way to silence his critics will be to emulate Mourinho and make the Carling Cup his first trophy as Chelsea boss.

Classic Chelsea v Spurs photos
22 Feb 08 |  Football
Tottenham v Chelsea
22 Feb 08 |  Football
Experts on the final
22 Feb 08 |  League Cup
Spurs team 'to lose' more weight
14 Feb 08 |  Tottenham Hotspur
Grant demands Chelsea 'respect'
24 Jan 08 |  League Cup
Spurs cagey over Robinson future
12 Jan 08 |  Tottenham Hotspur
Terry may miss England friendly
18 Dec 07 |  Internationals
Chelsea extend Grant's contract
13 Dec 07 |  Chelsea
Berbatov praises 'perfect' Ramos
13 Nov 07 |  Tottenham Hotspur
Ramos keen to take Spurs 'to top'
30 Oct 07 |  Tottenham Hotspur
The task facing Ramos at Spurs
29 Oct 07 |  Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham make Ramos head coach
27 Oct 07 |  Tottenham Hotspur
Jol sacked as Tottenham manager
26 Oct 07 |  Tottenham Hotspur
Grant cleared to coach in Europe
27 Sep 07 |  Chelsea
Chelsea needed a change - Grant
26 Sep 07 |  Chelsea
Drogba dismayed by Mourinho exit
29 Sep 07 |  Chelsea


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