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Page last updated at 18:51 GMT, Saturday, 16 April 2011 19:51 UK

Defiant Avram Grant sets West Ham survival target


Grant sets 41-point target

West Ham manager Avram Grant has set his side a target of nine more points if they are to avoid relegation.

Grant's side lost 2-1 to Aston Villa and are now second from bottom on 32 points, two points from safety with just five games remaining

"I think we need nine points, more or less, to stay in the league," said Grant. "We don't have any intention to give up.

"We have won against big teams this season so we can do it. We will fight."

The Hammers face Chelsea and Manchester City in their next two matches but Grant insisted they will not be daunted by the prospect of facing two of the top four teams in the league.

"It was very important for us today but we lost it," Grant said. "It was very crucial, it was the reason the players were nervous. Sometimes they gave the ball away cheaply.

"We need to look forward. I believe it is difficult but I still believe it is possible [to stay in the Premiership.]"

West Ham were without midfielder Scott Parker, who was ruled out with an Achilles problem that could also keep him out of the trip to Stamford Bridge. on 23 April.

Despite his absence on Saturday, the Hammers matched Villa in the first half but were outplayed after the interval.

"It is not easy, especially in our team to lose a player like Parker. He is the player of the year. He is very important for us but he is injured. Even with this we were winning," said Grant.

"We made a very good start, then we made a mistake in the last moments of the first half that cost us.

"In the second we had chances, they had chances. They scored at the last moment. We are very disappointed."

Villa boss Gerard Houllier was delighted with his side's spirit.

"I must give credit to their character because that is what we need when we are in a fight against relegation, you need character and you need composure," said Houllier.

"At times we demonstrated well that in difficulties the team was together and working well.

Villa not safe yet - Houllier

"When you are in danger you can't have egos in the team and you can't have grudges. You have got to be man enough to put away your own personality and work for each other.

"We were stung and it took us 15-20 minutes to get the spirits right because of the goal we conceded.

"I know every point is valuable but I thought we went for the win right from the start and got the reward. It may have been late but we got it.

"We created chance after chance. We created enough to win the game and from a heart point of view it is not good to wait until added time to score."

"This club [West Ham] went down with 42 points a few years ago so we know what we need to be safe. Our fate is in our hands and we need to keep that going so that means we need to pick up points."

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see also
West Ham 1-2 Aston Villa
16 Apr 11 |  Premier League
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