Avram Grant defiant over West Ham survival chances

Avram Grant needs the rub of the green this weekend

West Ham manager Avram Grant today reiterated his belief that the Hammers can stave off relegation if they focus on defeating fellow strugglers Wigan on Sunday.

Grant’s side languish bottom of the table with just two games remaining and head into Sunday’s clash knowing defeat will end their six-year stay in the Barclays Premier League.

The east Londoners have endured a tumultuous season which has been punctuated with misfortune, injuries and issues off the field as much as on it.

However, Grant today remained defiant and believes his side can still overcome the odds.

“It is a game we must win,” he said. “It is not dependent on anybody else, we need to win.

“We play against a team that must also win the game so it will be an interesting game.

“To be honest, we can only do what depends on us. To win against a very good team will be tough but if we don’t do we don’t have any chance.

“We need to do it and then we need to look for the other results.”

He added: “From my experience in football, nothing is over until it is over. It has happened to me in the past.

“I was not in this situation in the relegation fight but I was in the top with a situation like this where it did not only depend on us.

“Sometimes we did not think about what we needed to do and we missed the chance.

“I don’t want to miss this chance and hope we will do what we need to do and that is all.”

West Ham head into the clash at the DW Stadium on the back of a frustrating 1-1 draw with Blackburn at Upton Park last weekend.

Thomas Hitzlsperger ensured the fight for survival went on with a late equaliser that pulled West Ham back from the brink of the drop.

The Germany international’s 25-yard effort kick-started a late surge and substitute Robbie Keane and Carlton Cole both then spurned great chances in the final few moments.

“The mood at the beginning of the week was not great because we felt again we were on top of the other team,” said Grant.

“There is no question that we were the better side. It has happened many times this season and we didn’t win so we missed big chances, especially at the end.

“The mood was not great and I understand that but we decided to concentrate on the next game.”

Should West Ham fail to beat the drop, Grant will taste relegation from the Barclays Premier League for the second successive season.

The Israeli was manager of cash-strapped Portsmouth last season as they dropped into the npower Championship, but he insists things are very different with the Hammers.

“It is totally different because here everything is on the pitch,” he said.

“Portsmouth did not have any chance [of survival] and we knew that from January. That is why we concentrated on the cup.

“Here we concentrated only on the league because this was our main target.

“We wanted to stay in the league because we know it will be the first step towards a very good future.

“This season has not been easy but I don’t think this is a time to talk about the season because it is not over yet.”

The Hammers are boosted heading into the game by the news that Scott Parker could feature after an Achilles complaint and have a full squad available to them other than midfielders Gary O’Neil (ankle) and Mark Noble (hernia).

Parker’s return means the West Ham side could boast four senior England internationals on Sunday, including Carlton Cole, Matthew Upson and Robert Green.

The latter’s international future was put in doubt today after reports emerged that he is considering putting his England career on hold.

The Football Association and West Ham refused to comment on the matter when contacted by Press Association Sport, while club boss Grant took a similar stance.

When asked if he could shed any light on Green’s future, Grant added: “I spoke with Robert this morning and we only spoke about the game this Sunday so I don’t know anything about this.”


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