Belfast Telegraph

Grant at ease over slow start

Avram Grant insists there is no need for West Ham to panic about their start to the season unless they fail to improve after "10-15 games".

The Hammers prop up the Barclays Premier League going into the international break following defeats in their opening three matches. West Ham have never lost their first four league games but leaders Chelsea, who have made a perfect start to the new campaign, are their next opponents in just under a fortnight.

"It's only the beginning of the season, so we cannot make any conclusions after three weeks," he told his club's official website,

"We must wait for 10-15 games to see our direction. Chelsea is a tough fixture and I can't ever remember a team at our level having such tough fixtures at the beginning of the season.

"But these are fixtures we have been given and, in football, anything can happen. We have two weeks to think about things. We can become stronger."

Grant admits it has been a real challenge to instil confidence in his side since taking charge this summer after they only narrowly avoided relegation last term.

But he insists it is an easier job than the one he left at Portsmouth, who were mired in financial turmoil.

He said: "It's not easy to keep the morale up - especially after last season - but I don't like talking about last year because we do not need to be reminded about it.

"It's not easy but I've told the players from the beginning that I want to see their character, both when they win and when they lose. It's only the beginning of the season, and if we win two games, we will be as good as any other team.

"Last season, things were decided for me off the pitch but, this year, they will be decided on the pitch. It's a big, big difference."


From Belfast Telegraph