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Grant on... Manchester City

Filed: Sunday, 12th December 2010
By: Staff Writer

Despite yet another home defeat, Avram Grant maintains that West Ham's fortunes will change soon...

Avram: do you think 3-1 was a little bit harsh?

It was a little bit harsh, especially in the second half. But they are a good team with good players, also very strong physically. We tried - especially in the second half we started very well - [and up] until 75 minutes we were on top of them then they scored from a counter attack which was very difficult again. They have a lot of quality in this team.

It looked like you had a shout for a penalty before their second goal - a handball in the penalty area?

Yes, I saw it [just] now, it was a penalty but the referee didn't see it. It could change the game but we don't want to complain about this.

Just about the only time West Ham have been off the bottom this season was when they didn't play last week. What's going to change?

You know, Manchester City are a better team than us - especially when we're missing seven or eight players that normally play. Today they were players that weren't even on the bench. But the boys tried and [soon] we are playing against teams that we have played before - teams that we were better than but didn't take points. What's important for us is the next month.

Do you think Manchester City are potential title winners?

They can take the championship, for sure. They have quality players that can score for you. In the second half [today] they were not even in the game and then [clicks fingers], from one moment they score. The first half was the same, they didn't create many chances and then a fantastic goal from a great player. But they have good technique and that's what won the game today, quality. They're also very physical and very difficult to compete with both physically and [in terms of] quality so I'm sure they can go all the way.

Do you accept that defensively the first two goals were very poor?

I think every game we've conceded it's looked like we're poor defensively. [For the first goal] the ball was with us, we gave the ball away cheaply like we did many times in the first half and they passed the ball very well. We lost Yaya Toure by half a centimetre and they scored. The second goal was when we were on top of them; the ball again was at our feet, we lost it and they made a very good counter attack.

Are you concerned at your position now? Becasue the teams above you are picking up points.

A month ago they were five or six points above us... I think that when we are not even in the middle of the season - it's not a good situation, we don't like it - but we can turn it [around], there is time to turn it. I know that we are saying it all the time but still we can do it, that's what's important. Against Manchester City it was difficult for us.

Have you got any idea how many points you might need to stay up? Because at the moment you're not even going to get 27 points if you carry on picking points up at the same rate.

I don't know how many points. I know that if we win two from the next three games - which we can do even though it's not easy - it'll be a better position, that's what's important.

But you've only won two our 17, so most people wouldn't expect you to win two out of three.

Look, I don't know what people expect but I know what we expect from ourselves. We'll analyse our quality - not the game against City who are a stronger side than us - but even today we could do something with this. All the teams we have played against from eight place down, you have seen the games - they were not better than us. But we didn't pick up points so it's real that we can do it and pick up points. That's what we need to see, not calculate so many things.

Okay. So do you see January as an opportunity to really change things in terms of the shape of the squad?

I think yes. The squad also depends on the number of injuries, you know. Today I think eight players didn't play because they were injured so we need to see if they can play. We need to be stronger but not so much; if they cannot play and the injuries continue we'll need to think about it and January is an opportunity for us to be[come] stronger.

How many players would you like to bring in?

It toally depends on the players. Today, I think, was Lars Jacobsen; Danny Gabbidon; Kieron Dyer, who could play only 30 minutes; Behrami could not play; Hitzlsperger; Mark Noble and others. It depends how long-term their injuries are - if we see the injuries again and again we need to think about more players. For the moment we are thinking about two or three positions that can help us.

Have you spoken to the owners after the game and have you spoken to them about January?

Yes I've been speaking with them. WIth their limited resources they are trying to do their best for the team.

Have you spoken to them today?

No. I need to speak with you first...

When you hear the crowd booing or when it's quiet it's not a typical Upton Park. Does it concern you that your employers might not actually maintain their nerve and hold patience until you do manage to turn things around?

Even the supporters know that to play without so many players adds pressure, but the players that they played against were such a strong side. We wanted to produce a good result, we tried to get a good result but it would have been a bonus - even if we like bonuses. The next game is more important and I think in the last month, two months, even before, we did progress even if we didn't take more points. It's not what I want but what's important is if we can do it in the future and not speak too much about the past, no?

So you think January is going to be a key month for you?

First we have games now, this month - so we want to win those and then think about January. But I think because of our position - and even though we have many games [to go] until the end of the season, remember than we are not even at the halfway point of the season - we can turn things around. We need to play like we've been playing but also pick up points.

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