Tuesday 20 March 2018

Grant happy despite drubbing


Alex Lowe

Avram Grant insisted he was "very happy" with West Ham's performance despite seeing them crash to a 3-1 defeat at home to Bolton.

The Hammers, beaten 3-0 at Aston Villa last week, now head into Premier League fixtures against Manchester United and Chelsea rooted in the bottom three without a single point.

Bolton weathered a first-half storm -- including a missed penalty from Carlton Cole -- before snatching the lead with a Matthew Upson own goal.

Johan Elmander wrapped up the points with strikes either side of a Mark Noble penalty as Bolton extended their winning run over West Ham to seven matches.

West Ham were booed from the field yet Grant was pleased with some aspects of their performance. "We have a very tough two games. If you saw the spirit today after the game last week, this team this season is not going to give up.

"I am happy how players responded. The defence was good, we created a lot of chances. On the football side everything went well. We played like a team at the top. I am very happy with the performance, I am very disappointed with the result. It was a strange game."

Grant insisted Upson was pushed by striker Kevin Davies in scoring the own goal that gave Bolton the upper hand. Upson seemed to stoop to head the ball past Robert Green -- and in the process he received a boot in the face from Davies and had to go off.

"There was a clear foul on the first goal. We know they play direct ball -- Matthew was in the right place, he was before Davies, who pushed him. The referee needs to be more awake," said Grant. "He smashed his face. He cannot have an X-ray now."

Bolton manager Owen Coyle conceded that on another day West Ham could have been in charge at half-time. But Coyle revealed that his side's recent dominance over the Hammers played a big part in reinforcing their belief that another Upton Park win was there for the taking.

"I wish it was a two-team league," joked Coyle. "Sometimes as a player there are teams you are suited to play against. We were aware of that and we had a belief we could win the game. We did it last year and I think we have improved since then.

"The lads showed great character. It was hard work -- it was a terrific game end to end -- and I am delighted with the three points."

Sunday Independent

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