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Pompey boss has a point to prove

Avram Grant blasted the English Premier League for docking nine points from beleaguered Portsmouth and vowed to carry on fighting to keep the club alive.

The Pompey boss said he had spent his entire life battling for justice and was therefore fuming about the south coast club’s impending points deduction for entering administration.

The Israeli said he had no idea if he was still being paid to manage the top flight’s bottom side but pledged to fight on regardless.

“Football should be decided on the pitch. Not in the courts, not in the Premier League offices, but on the pitch,” Grant insisted.

“Of course we should not be docked nine points. All my life I have been fighting for justice and in the interests of fair play, we need football to be decided on the field.”

Portsmouth’s administrator Andrew Andronikou has pledged to cut costs to the bone, leaving few people feeling safe in their jobs.

“I cannot promise anything, other than as long as I am here then I will fight for the city and the club because it’s the right thing to do,” insisted Grant.

“If I was going to walk away I would have done it in January when everything that should have happened didn’t and then things became even worse.

“So I will try to help this club and city as much as I can.”

Asked whether he was still being paid, the former Chelsea boss replied: “To be honest, I don’t know”.

“I’m a football manager and I want to deal with football problems, I don’t want to deal with other problems,” Grant said.

“Of course I could never have predicted what has happened, not even in my dreams.

“I thought we had a position on the pitch we could handle, that we could do something.

“But then I started to doubt the situation when 100 percent of the things I was promised didn’t come, and then it became worse and worse and then administration.

“Now I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, never mind next season.”

Portsmouth put their administration woes on hold on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Burnley in a relegation clash at Turf Moor between the English Premier League’s bottom two sides.

The visitors, a day after becoming the first Premier League side to plunge into administration, earned their second away win in the league in 16 months.

However, the victory hardly eased rock-bottom Pompey’s relegation fears. They are five points from safety — but effectively 14 once the deduction comes in.

French striker Frederic Piquionne – on loan from French giants Lyon – put Pompey ahead in the 25th minute.

Burnley equalised six minutes later when Northern Ireland striker Martin Paterson lobbed England goalkeeper David James with an impressive chip.

Clarets captain Clarke Carlisle then gave away two penalties.

Portsmouth midfielder Jamie O’Hara missed the first in the 56th minute but French midfielder Hassan Yebda scored his effort in the 76th to give Pompey victory.

Portuguese international defender Ricardo Rocha was sent off in injury time, his second red card in two appearances.

Burnley manager Brian Laws vented his frustration over the defeat.

“We have shot ourselves in the foot. We gave two really poor penalties away and the second one in particular was inexplicable,” he said.

“To give Portsmouth the three points is devastating. The captain has to hold his hands up and take the blame for that. He’s absolutely devastated but there’s no hiding place.”

Sun 28 February, 2010
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