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Page last updated at 15:15 GMT, Friday, 27 November 2009

New boss Avram Grant ready for Pompey challenge


Manager's job never my intention - Grant

Avram Grant is confident that he can turn around Portsmouth's fortunes after being unveiled as the club's new boss.

The south coast club are currently bottom of the Premier League with just two wins all season.

But the 54-year-old, who was already at the club in his second spell working as director of football, said: "The spirit of the team and atmosphere are good.

"The squad is good enough to take us from the bottom, but we need some players who can improve us."

Those players are likely to come in during the January transfer window after Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie revealed that he expects the club's transfer embargo to be lifted.

Pompey have been banned from making new signings until they settle transfer debts owed to other English clubs.

Portsmouth have some good players and they might be in a false position

Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson

But Storrie said: "It should certainly be lifted in time for the window opening and Avram will look at where he thinks we need to strengthen the side."

Grant, who will remain as director of football until his work permit can be changed next week, did not specifically mention where that strengthening was needed, but said: "The African Nations Cup is coming so some players will not be around for a month and we need to think about that."

First appointed technical director of football in June 2006, the Israeli returned to the club in the same role last month.

He left Fratton Park in July 2007 to take up a director of football role at Chelsea and succeeded Jose Mourinho as the Blues manager in September of that year, but he was sacked at the end of the season despite guiding his side to second in the Premier League and the Champions League final, where they lost on penalties to Manchester United.

"I'm not a man who looks back at the past. All challenges in football are different. It is the nature of the game," said Grant.

"This is a difficult one, although not impossible, but when I was manager of Chelsea it was difficult as well.

"I came to help Portsmouth in 2006 and I'm happy to do it also now.


"The team has not been playing badly either and we are not that far below many others in the Premier League, but in our position it is points you need and I will make that my priority even though I won't play ugly football.

"I will try to gather points by playing well.

"I need to do a good job because the team are not in a good position. I love this club."

His first game is, ironically, against Manchester United on Saturday, the team he faced in his last game as Chelsea manager.

"It won't go to penalties," he said with a wry smile.

"There have been good results in the last month compared to before, but what's happened has happened and I'm looking forward to the next game.

"They are a good team, they have a great manager who is a nice person, but we need the points.

Grant will be a hero if he succeeds - Redknapp

"We deserve to stay in the Premier League and that's my main aim."

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has warned his players to expect a tough game at Fratton Park.

"We know Avram well from his time at Chelsea," said Ferguson. "He's very experienced and I'm sure he will get the right reaction from his players.

"We've kept in touch quite a lot and he will be glad to get back into management.

"He has got a big challenge, but they have some good players and they might be in a false position."

BBC Sport's Football Focus comes live from Fratton Park on Saturday at 1215 GMT on BBC One and this website.

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see also
Saturday's show
26 Aug 10 |  Football Focus
The force is with Pompey - James
27 Nov 09 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth name Grant as new boss
26 Nov 09 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth part company with Hart
24 Nov 09 |  Portsmouth
Hart not consulted on Grant role
15 Oct 09 |  Portsmouth
Grant seals return to Portsmouth
07 Oct 09 |  Portsmouth
Saudi completes Pompey takeover
06 Oct 09 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth owner 'to inject 50m'
25 Sep 09 |  Portsmouth
Pompey 'just avoided going under'
02 Sep 09 |  Portsmouth

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