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Portsmouth chief Grant convinced Chelsea can handle African absences

Portsmouth football chief Avram Grant believes Chelsea can handle their African Nations Cup absences in the New Year.

Under Grant two years ago Chelsea won all their games during the Cup, though they did drop two points at Fratton Park in early February with a team missing all four Africans.

"At the beginning of November all the newspapers began to ask me how many players I would buy in January," said Grant to the Observer. "I decided from day one I would trust the squad and we won nine in a row, a record.

"But it's not just the Cup, you have a problem after because players come back and take one or two weeks to get used to the conditions again. Africa is very hot in January, England very cold."

Is January a good time to buy?

"Generally in the big teams I don't think they need to because at the beginning of the season you prepare for injury, for everything."

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Tribal Football Staff

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