Hammers prove point for Grant

28 October 2010 07:22
Avram Grant believes West Ham proved their mettle as they came from behind to beat Stoke 3-1 in extra-time in Wednesday's Carling Cup tie.[LNB] Grant claimed the Hammers proved their limp performance against Newcastle was a one-off after watching them book a place in the quarter-finals.[LNB]Saturday saw West Ham throw away an early lead that would have seen them haul 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]But 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 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.[LNB]"But if you see all our games - the last six, seven games - it was the exception.[LNB]"You want to show that it's the exception."[LNB]West Ham certainly did that on Wednesday night 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]The Hammers 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, the first half, we were playing well. We had two good chances 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 teamtalk, 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.[LNB]"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.[LNB]"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 tonight, 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.[LNB]"He's one of the players that you're happy to have in your team."[LNB]Stoke boss 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 today and we tired a little bit at the end.[LNB]"But I've got to give them credit."

Source: Team_Talk