Monday, June 18, 2018

Grant backs new strikers to fire Hammers to safety

SoccerNews in English Premier League 26 Sep 2010


West Ham manager Avram Grant believes strikers Frederic Piquionne and Victor Obinna can fire his team away from the Premier League relegation zone after they inspired a 1-0 win over Tottenham.

France international Piquionne headed home the decisive goal at Upton Park on Saturday, while on loan Inter Milan striker Obinna showed plenty of skill and industry.

The duo were signed by former Portsmouth coach Grant during the close-season and they repaid his investment by helping earn the Hammers’ a first league win of the season which lifted them off the bottom of the table.

Grant said: “Their attitude is very good and they are both very quick. Frederic I know from Portsmouth and he is a player who plays for the team first and them himself second. He wants to score goals and works hard.

“Obinna is also a good player. Our vision for the club is to take players who are hungry to succeed.”

West Ham had the best of the early chances when Obinna squeezed his shot wide of the post while defender Manuel da Costa headed agonisingly wide.

But Tottenham also threatened as Rafael Van Der Vaart’s free-kick from the edge of the box was deflected wide.

Jermaine Jenas then had a shot that Robert Green saved well.

The winning goal arrived in the 29th minute when Piquionne converted from Mark Noble’s corner.

Former England goalkeeper Green then made two crucial saves to keep Tottenham at bay.

First, he tipped Luka Modric’s effort onto the bar and then a minute later he pushed away Van Der Vaart’s bullet header.

They were two excellent stops from a player who has been dogged by criticism following his mistake during England’s draw with the USA in the World Cup.

Grant was delighted with Green and added: “He is a good goalkeeper. Sometimes they have good days and bad days but he made some great saves.

“He was good and all the team worked hard to keep a clean-sheet. It was a good three points and my first three points here.

“I am very happy because I know how much this match means to the supporters.”

Despite a tense finish, West Ham held on to end Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp’s undefeated record against his former club.

Tottenham have a chance to bounce back against FC Twente in the Champions League on Wednesday and Redknapp expects Holland midfielder Van Der Vaart to be a key player following another impressive display after his recent move from Real Madrid.

He added: “We have a busy week ahead so I took him off because I did not want to kill him off.

“He does look like a top player. He’s real quality. He plays in the position in the hole and he finds space to get the ball.

“He uses his body to get the ball in tight areas and he is a really quality player. He’s done well to play these games in a short space of time.”

Redknapp was not too downbeat after his first defeat at Upton Park and added: “I don’t like losing any game but I don’t feel any worse for losing to West Ham than I would any other team. I’ve had a great run coming back here.

“Full credit to them they pressed us. Their front two players worked hard and turned bad balls into good balls by chasing them.”


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