Hammers boss admits they are fighting relegation

Avram Grant is still confident that his team can turn things around, but he accepts it is going to be tough.

THERE were no smiles this week from West Ham boss Avram Grant.

Last Saturday at Wolves he took the result and even that last minute disallowed goal in good heart, but this week there was precious little to hang on to, precious little to be positive about.

He has been through it all before of course. After nine games last season, Portsmouth were even worse off than West Ham are this year, with just three points to their name, but that was a team going through such financial turmoil, that only now are they coming out the other side.

West Ham have already played Manchester United and Chelsea, they are playing Arsenal away this Saturday, but there have also been missed opportunities.

Grant knows that only too well: “We know that this season will be tough, we don’t want to be at the bottom, but that is the situation now,” said the manager after Saturday’s dismal 2-1 defeat at Upton Park.

“We knew that we wouldn’t be at the top, but unfortunately we didn’t use the games before this one to gain more points.

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“They were games when our draws were closer to us winning.”

Under Gianfranco Zola last term, West Ham had exactly the same amount of points – six – after nine games, so perhaps this season hasn’t been a complete disaster, yet.

They are rock bottom however, only Blackpool (20) have let in more than West Ham’s 17 goals and the Hammers goal difference of -10 is the worst in the division.

Grant though remains upbeat about their chances and has been studying the upcoming games.

“I think it is harder now, but there is almost 30 games still to go,” said the manager.

“We have games in the next two months that we can win and if we do well as we have done up until now, when we went five games unbeaten, then I’m sure that we can do it.”

Grant insists that he is not under pressure at the helm, but refused to rule out the possibility that he would not be at the club before those two months are up.

“Who is confident in football?” he said. “You just never know.

“We know that we are going through a tough season, but even though we lost to Newcastle, we can still do it and we can stay positive about it.

Next up is Arsenal at the Emirates though and they don’t come much harder than that.

“There are no easy games. We have had away games where we did very well, then we came to a home game which we could have won and we didn’t,” said Grant.

“But in the Premier League anything can happen. Maybe Arsenal away is the toughest game of the season, but we will try to do our best anyway.”

That though, is unlikely to be enough.