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Page last updated at 15:01 GMT, Friday, 17 September 2010 16:01 UK

Absent Avram Grant backs West Ham '100%' against Stoke


Grant explains Yom Kippur absence

West Ham boss Avram Grant insists his team will be "100% ready" to take on Stoke on Saturday despite his absence to observe Yom Kippur.

The Hammers have allowed Grant time off for the Day of Atonement, which requires Jews to fast and pray over the course of Friday night and Saturday.

"I may not be in the dugout, but we have prepared well," said Grant.

"The meeting, the talking, the tactics, the training and the preparation with the team is the same."

He explained he follows the custom out of respect for his parents, who survived the Holocaust, and their heritage - a decision, he claims, his bottom-of-the-table team understands.

"This is a very significant day and out of respect for my father and mother, especially after all they have gone through, the traditions of thousands of years, it is one day in the year that I always respect, since I have been a child," added the former Portsmouth manager.


"I have players from all religions, and they know that there needs to be respect for the traditions. I didn't notice any negative reaction."

Three years ago, Grant observed Yom Kippur prior to his first match as Chelsea manager before flying by helicopter to Old Trafford for the game against Manchester United.

Grant will pick the team for Saturday's game, while assistant manager Zeljko Petrovic will take charge at the Britannia Stadium with the help of senior coach Paul Groves and first-team coach Kevin Keen.

The Hammers, who have also given Israeli defender Tal Ben Haim permission to observe the Day of Atonement, have lost all four of their Premier League games this season, but Grant is maintaining a positive outlook.

"Even though we have zero points, I believe in this team, that we can have a good season," stated the 55-year-old. "We know what our target is and it didn't change.

"Against the best team in the country [Chelsea] we didn't give up. We deserved more than we got, but in football there is no 'deserve'."

The second of Chelsea's goal in last Saturday's 3-1 defeat at Upton Park resulted from another glaring error by goalkeeper Robert Green.

Green, who famously spilled a Clint Dempsey shot in England's 1-1 draw with the United States at the World Cup, failed to hang on to a Didier Drogba free-kick before Salomon Kalou scored.

But Grant has backed Green to bounce back from his latest howler on Saturday.

"It has happened to every goalkeeper and the most important thing is his reaction, because mistakes are part of the game," said Grant.

"I have a feeling you will see Rob Green at his best on Saturday."

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see also
Grant talks up West Ham positives
11 Sep 10 |  West Ham
West Ham 1-3 Chelsea
11 Sep 10 |  Premier League
Grant confirmed as West Ham boss
03 Jun 10 |  West Ham

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