Saturday 20 January 2018

Grant fumes at euro blow

Portsmouth manager Avram Grant has expressed his dismay at the decision taken by the FA and Premier League to prevent them from playing in Europe next season.

Pompey, who were in line to qualify for Europe by dint of reaching the FA Cup final against Champions League-bound Chelsea, have been told their financial problems mean they will not be allowed to apply for a UEFA licence which would enable them to compete in the Europa League.

Speaking ahead of today's league trip to Bolton, Grant said: "I don't know what to say. We are trying to do our job in football -- I think everybody knows that it's difficult, but we did it.

"I don't understand why there are so many decisions off the pitch.

"We have done everything to deserve to be in Europe according to the rules. But now there is another decision off the pitch."

Portsmouth have already suffered relegation from the Premier League, with a nine-point penalty for entering administration, and Grant feels the authorities have been unduly harsh on the south-coast club.

He said: "We didn't do anything -- not the players, not the fans, not the staff. But who do they punish every time? We continue to show fair play on the pitch, which is more than I can say for the people in the offices."

Meanwhile, Hayden Mullins has promised Bolton's relegation rivals that the Trotters will not be given an easy ride by a Portsmouth side already resigned to life in the Championship.

Owen Coyle's men need a win against the bottom club to guarantee their place in the top flight next season.

The former West Ham man said: "Bolton is a hard game but we have to be positive.

"There are a lot of players trying to impress to get in the team for the FA Cup final so whatever team goes out we will try and win."

Irish Independent

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