Avram Grant hails West Ham's second-half comeback against Stoke in Carling Cup

28 October 2010 08:56
Saturday saw West Ham throw away an early lead that would have hauled themselves off the foot of the Premier League. [LNB]The defeat piled the pressure on manager Grant and Stoke looked to have cranked it up even further on Wednesday evening when they led 1-0 with four minutes remaining at Upton Park. [LNB] Related ArticlesWest Ham 3 Stoke City 1; aetNewcastle United 0 Arsenal 4Aston Villa 2 Burnley 1; aetHernandez is 'justifying his praise'Wenger to name strong sideKeane remains focused on ChampionshipHowever, a late equaliser in normal time and two further goals turned the tie around. [LNB]Asked about the owners' unhappiness with Saturday's second-half half performance, Grant said: "And you think that I was happy with the second half? [LNB]"I must say that the second half Saturday, it was not good. But if you see all our games - the last six, seven games - it was the exception. You want to show that it's the exception." [LNB]West Ham certainly did that against Stoke, and Grant added: "We didn't start the game well but the reaction in the second half was great. [LNB]"We played well, we dominated the game, and we scored three goals." [LNB]West Ham did not start well, Kenwyne Jones giving the visitors a sixth-minute lead which they came close to doubling before the home side turned the tide. [LNB]Grant said: "Even in the first half we were playing well. We had two good chances in the last 10 minutes of the first half. [LNB]"I thought if we continued to play like this, we would win the game." [LNB]Describing his half-time team-talk, the Israeli said: "We spoke about the things that were not so good. [LNB]"We spoke about mentality and character, changing a little bit of the tactics. I'm very delighted because they responded." [LNB]He added: "I think one of the things that we wanted to improve in the team is their character. [LNB]"In the last weeks, we showed it. But Saturday, we didn't show it, so we wanted to show that Saturday was the exception for us." [LNB]Grant's substitutions turned the game, with Victor Obinna, Mark Noble and Valon Behrami all making a huge impact. [LNB]Captain Scott Parker got the equaliser but Noble set up the second and third goals, the last of which was scored by Obinna. [LNB]"When substitutes succeed, I am happy," said Grant, who hailed Noble's mazy run which set up the second goal as "like Maradona". [LNB]Of Parker, who once again led by example, Grant said: "I've spoken so much about Scott Parker. [LNB]"I don't think any of us can say a negative word about him. He's one of the players that you're happy to have in your team." [LNB]Stoke manager Tony Pulis was philosophical about his side's third successive defeat. [LNB]"We're disappointed. We thought we played well first half," he said. [LNB]"I thought we had more opportunities. Our final pass was poor but we needed that second goal. [LNB]"West Ham threw everything at us in that second half, as you'd expect." [LNB]Stoke began to struggle once they brought off Jones and Jermaine Pennant, who set up their opening goal. [LNB]"The two substitutions with Kenwyne and Jermaine, who were under the weather a little bit, didn't help us," Pulis said. [LNB]"I thought Kenwyne was very good when he was on the pitch; he was a threat. [LNB]"But fair play to West Ham; you've got to give them credit. [LNB]"Obinna came on, young Noble, and they changed the game, really." [LNB]Asked if West Ham's comeback came as a surprise, he added: "It's cup football; they've got nothing to lose. [LNB]"We worked very, very hard for a good 75 minutes and we tired a little bit at the end. But I've got to give them credit." [LNB][LNB]

Source: Telegraph