Grant demands more goals from Chelsea

Chelsea boss Avram Grant admits he wants his players to be more ruthless in front of goal after last night's edgy 1-0 win over Reading.

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A 33rd-minute header from Michael Ballack helped Chelsea to equal a club record of nine straight wins in all competitions - but they squandered a host of chances to kill off Steve Coppell's visitors.

Grant is now hoping his side can learn from their mistakes and punish teams in front of goal.

"I am very pleased with the performance and that we won," said Grant. "But we should have scored more goals. We had a lot of chances one-on-one with the goalkeeper. I would be happier if we had scored more goals.

"I think over the last three months, we have seen the development of the team - and how we have kept our style even though we have missed a lot of players.

"I hope that we play like this in every game and create chances, because I don't think we will miss them like we did in this game. I will be very happy if we create five, six or more chances every game - then we will score more.

"If we create so many chances we want to score more. It is good that we win anyway. But we need to put the ball into the net."

Grant was full of praise for match-winner Ballack, who recovered from a calf strain to play in the Barclays Premier League match.

The Germany captain headed home Paulo Ferreira's cross, and Grant maintained that the midfielder's intelligence was a key feature of his game.

Grant added: "All the team performed very well. I don't think Michael played as bad(ly) as people think last year.

"I have known him for a long time. I saw him play so many times in Germany with (Bayer) Leverkusen. At Bayern Munich one of his qualities was to come into the box and score and provide 'assists'.

"He is a modern player, because he can do everything on the pitch - and today we saw one of his qualities. I very much like intelligent players - and he is one."

Reading boss Steve Coppell blamed his side's defeat on their poor first-half performance.

The Royals have not won in eight games, but Coppell is looking no further ahead than the next game against Bolton at the weekend.

Coppell said: "The first 45 minutes, we were passive. The second half, we had a go.

"The longer the game went, I thought we were more of a factor in the game. But in the first half we were just running alongside them.

"Their players are intimidating, because they good. At the moment they are grinding out results rather than playing 'calypso' football - but as long as they are winning, there are no complaints from anybody.

"With the players coming back to them after the African Nations Cup then it is all to play for, with a third of the season to go.

"We were not competitive in the first half - we were just responsive. We did not initiate anything ourselves and didn't look dangerous at all. But we had a go in the second half.

"They are at the top of the table, and we are at the bottom end. They are better than us.

"Chelsea have got a lot to do - but they are capable of doing a lot. It is a three-horse race. You can easily see them going through the rest of the season without being beaten."

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