McLeish relieved to beat West Ham

06 February 2011 10:16
West Ham boss Avram Grant said his team's new signings need to fit in quickly following the 1-0 loss to Birmingham at Upton Park.New Hammers striker Demba Ba hit the post but neither he nor Robbie Keane could score as Grant's side returned to the bottom of the Premier League. [LNB]"We need to [adjust] as quickly as possible," he told BBC Sport. [LNB]"We have a very important game next week [against West Brom] and I think the good players will adjust quickly." [LNB]Birmingham beat West Ham in the Carling Cup semi-finals last month and their victory on Sunday, courtesy of Nikola Zigic's 65th-minute winner, lifted them out of the bottom three. [LNB]But they are only three points above the Hammers and a mere seven points separate the bottom 11 teams in the table. [LNB]West Ham looked promising in the early stages, with Victor Obinna and Keane looking threatening, but they could not carve out many clear openings as substitute Ba hit the post in the second half. [LNB]It makes West Ham's next game against West Brom a significant one and, having lost to fellow Premier League strugglers for the first time this season, Grant is hoping they can bounce back from this result. [LNB]"It's the first game we have lost against a team which is near us," he told BBC Sport. "So it is not so good and we are not so happy with this. [LNB]He added: "It is the most interesting season there has been both at the top and the bottom. [LNB]"Between us and West Brom there is only two points and three or four points to the others, so it will be a fight until the end of the season. I think there will be five or six teams in it." [LNB]Birmingham manager Alex McLeish admitted the style of victory was not one for the purists but was pleased that a second-half tactical switch to replace striker Cameron Jerome with midfielder Sebastian Larsson paid off. [LNB]"I am delighted and relieved," said the Scot. "It was a difficult game to watch from the sidelines and I don't think it was that pretty. I'm sure the critics will have a dig at it. [LNB]"But in saying that there is a lot of tension in the Premier League at the top and the middle and the bottom as well. There's not a lot between the middle teams and those at the bottom - four or five points can take you soaring up the league.[LNB] [LNB][LNB]McLeish delighted with[LNB]"It's a cracking result for us today. In the second half we were better, we changed the tactics around a wee bit and it worked a bit better for us. [LNB]"Larsson gave us a bit more speed and nous on the flank where we probably needed it most. Credit to Sebastian; his contract is up in the summer but he was wholeheartedly committed and his effort was fantastic." [LNB]McLeish hopes his team's victory will help their consistency following their 2-2 draw with Manchester City in midweek. [LNB]Yet he recognises that there will be many more twists and turns before the end of the season. [LNB]"The league deserves a lot of respect," he added. "Some day unfortunately three teams will have to go down and everybody is fighting for their lives. [LNB]"The spirit and quality in the league is amazing and the fact that there is not a huge difference in terms of points between bottom club and 10-11 places above shows the quality is in abundance. [LNB]"Every game is a hard one and there is no guarantee you can win them, but what we could do with is to swing a couple back-to-back now. It would just ease pressure and lift everybody in terms of their confidence levels. [LNB]"We haven't lacked confidence, we certainly haven't lacked commitment. You could see that against Manchester City and you could see that again on Sunday."

Source: BBC_Sport