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Page last updated at 20:12 GMT, Sunday, 5 December 2010

West Ham boss Avram Grant optimistic despite defeat

Grant remains upbeat

Avram Grant believes West Ham will soon be moving off the bottom of the table despite suffering their eighth league defeat of the season at Sunderland.

The Hammers lost 1-0 as a result of Jordan Henderson's strike, leaving them with 12 points from 16 games, three points behind Fulham in 17th.

But manager Grant said: "The team are progressing and getting more efficient.

"Unfortunately, it didn't happen on Sunday, but we can take a lot from this game and move forward."

The defeat continued a miserable sequence away from Upton Park, with West Ham's last away win in the Premier League coming against Wolves on the opening day of last season.

But Grant, who saw his side beat Manchester United 4-0 in the Carling Cup on Tuesday, insisted that positives could be taken from the performance, adding: "In the second half we could have earned a draw.

"We were better after the break and created a few chances to score. In the first half, they had a lot of possession but I think the only chance they created led to their goal.


"On most of our away defeats the difference has been a single goal which means we can turn it around. We have to do it as we don't want to go the whole season without winning away.

"We are three points from 17th place and six points from I don't know which place [Birmingham in 14th], but this is a gap we can close if we continue to play like we have played in the last two months."

Meanwhile, Sunderland manager Steve Bruce said he was delighted with the way Henderson responded to hints that he might have been rested as his side moved up to seventh in the Premier League.

"Sometimes you just throw a little sprat now and again - to be fair, he trained as if to say 'please don't leave me out' in the last couple of days, so he did it himself," said Bruce.

Bruce relieved after 'edgy' win

"He was desperate to play, like he is every week. He was terrific today and it was good to see him score again.

"There will be a time when the kid needs a rest. He has played for 18 months now solid and has had a meteoric rise to a month ago playing for England.

"My job is to look after and protect him. There is going to be a time with a young player when they do need a rest to give him a break now and again."

Sunderland's win meant that they retained their unbeaten record at home this season.

And Bruce is hoping they can maintain their good form of the first half of the season into the new year.

"Last year we faded away - we had a wonderful start and were in a position similar to this and we faded away," he added.

"I do believe the squad has got better and we've got more depth which we didn't have last year.

"That just shows what a decent squad we are building."

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Barclays Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 5 Dec 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Arsenal 16 16 32
2 Man Utd 15 19 31
3 Chelsea 16 19 30
4 Man City 16 9 29
5 Tottenham 16 3 26
6 Bolton 16 5 23
7 Sunderland 16 2 23
8 West Brom 16 -4 22
9 Stoke 16 0 21
10 Blackburn 16 -4 21
11 Newcastle 16 -1 19
12 Liverpool 15 -2 19
13 Blackpool 15 -6 19
14 Birmingham 16 -2 18
15 Everton 16 -2 17
16 Aston Villa 15 -7 17
17 Fulham 16 -4 15
18 Wigan 16 -15 15
19 Wolves 16 -13 12
20 West Ham 16 -13 12

see also
Sunderland 1-0 West Ham
05 Dec 10 |  Premier League
Sunday football as it happened
05 Dec 10 |  Football
Sunday's football photos
05 Dec 10 |  Football

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