Fans are still behind us says West Ham boss Avram Grant
Hammers manager Avram Grant insists that good results are just round the corner despite Wednesday’s disappointment against West Brom at Upton Park.
WEST HAM boss Avram Grant believes that the supporters understand the difficulties the team have faced and are backing him to turn things round at Upton Park.
The Hammers go into Saturday’s clash with Blackpool having thrown away leads to draw their last two games, but if they do the same again this weekend, the knives will be out in the open for the Israeli.
“As far as I know the fans understand it very much that we are close to getting the right results,” insisted the manager.
Not from where many journalists were sitting. The crowd seemed edgy and impatient from the very start of Wednesday night’s 2-2 draw with West Brom. Some booed off Carlton Cole and Luis Boa Morte and gave a lukewarm welcome to Radoslav Kovac and there was an atmosphere of frustration at what they were seeing.
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“Of course they want more points, but there is no-one more than the players, myself and my staff who want to take points.”
Again, that didn’t look to be the case on Wednesday. Aside from Scott Parker and Kieron Dyer, there seemed so little passion out on the field. Players seemed content to go through the motions in first gear, playing pat ball across the back as West Brom sat back and watched the Hammers waste their time.
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“From my experience in football, if you keep playing like that you will start to get the points,” said Grant.
Many fans would argue with that point, while co-owner David Sullivan – another West Ham fan - will almost certainly do the same. He set a points target for the games against Birmingham, West Brom, Blackpool and Liverpool and now only wins in the remaining two games will see the team meet that target.
“I want to take points, not because anybody else wants to take them. I want to take points because I do and because I think we deserve to take points,” said the manager.
“When the first win comes, we will win more games. We are playing football to win the games, but it is not east because we have had a lot of injuries.”
Ah, the injury excuse has arrived. West Ham have been hampered by the loss of Thomas Hitzlsperger before the start of the season, while Mark Noble’s appendectomy when at the top of his game was certainly a tough break, but has the absence of anyone else really made all that difference?
“Today we played without Behrami who was maybe our best player on Saturday,” insisted the boss. “He got injured in the last minute of training on Tuesday. Obinna was injured, Mark Noble is injured, but still we are keeping playing our football.
“It’s not going like we want, as you saw from the first half, but if you look at the whole package, we are playing well – this frustrates us more than anything.”
That is perhaps the most worrying thing of all. If the manager really thinks that Wednesday’s dismal showing against West Brom was the team playing well, even in the second half, then West Ham fans are in for a long, hard winter.
On paper, the squad looks much stronger than last season’s under Gianfranco Zola, but it seems that at times the coach does not seem to be tactically aware enough to get the best out of them.
Does he really think that using Freddie Piquionne on the right wing is the best use of his talents? Is Luis Boa Morte in central midfield in a home match the right selection? Is the whole 4-5-1 formation at Upton Park against a team content to sit back and hit you on the break, the correct way to go?
West Ham may have some good players, but they are simply not fulfilling their potential and that, sadly, has got to be largely down to the manager.