Grant reflects on the West Ham defeat
Just when we 'thought', or at least 'hoped', Pompey could maybe get some momentum going from some decent results, and performances recently we shot ourselves in the foot on Boxing Day by pretty much making life 'easy' for West Ham.
Do not get me wrong, I do not want to take anything away from West Ham as they did what they had to do - and the 'hungrier' side won a game that I do not think we could afford to lose, not that it is 'all over' just yet of course!
Avram Grant, and you would expect nothing less, told sky sports that 'everything is possible' in our fight to avoid the drop and despite this defeat he maintains that we have the 'quality' to turn things around: 'we have the quality to win. I've said so many times and I'm not a person to change my mind.'
I was surprised to see Kevin-Prince Boateng left out, although Grant said this was due to illness: 'Boateng had a virus so we couldn't play him for the start as he hadn't trained all week.'
All in all I do not think that we played well, the hungrier side were most definitely West Ham - they had more ideas than us and Scott Parker dominated the midfield.
To be fair I thought we played better in the 2nd half although the decision to remove Nadir Belhadj, and reduce the width, was not something I would have done - Aruna Dindane would certainly have come off much sooner than he did!
Like I say, we were better in the 2nd half, and Grant knew this, but by giving away yet another penalty we made it even harder for ourselves: 'in the second half we dominated the game apart from a few counter-attacks. The game didn't start well for us and we conceded a ninth penalty of the season.'
The tinkering that Grant has done during his time in charge has often paid off, as have his tactical moves - although I felt that some of his 'tinkering' ahead of this game might not have been needed, and certainly did not pay off. His tactical moves were also poor this time, at a time when we could not afford this.
Something that was clearly highlighted once again was our need to reinforce in January, and this is still far from clear if we can do this - in fact most signs are pointing to no, but Grant says we will 'know this week' what this situation will be...
Our chances of survival took another downturn yesterday, when we were looking for an upturn, although 'on the whole' results did not exactly go against us as such - so that was a saving grace, although we CANNOT afford to keep dropping points against teams in and around the relegation zone because THAT is what will determine our fate in the end!
PLAY UP POMPEY!