Friend Or Foe?

Peter Grant says that personal friendships have to be put aside on the field - and insists there must be no complacency either.

With a quartet of ex-Wimbledon players ready to face recent former colleagues on Tuesday, Peter says:

"At the end of the day they are West Ham players and you don't have any friends in football; they can be best mates off the pitch but not on it for 90 minutes.

"They are there to take my livelihood away and I am there to take their livelihood away, as such."

Peter knows Wimbledon are in a parlous financial state but adds:

"We have given them money for their players and if it hadn't been us it would have been somebody else.

"It is unfortunate Wimbledon are in the position they are in but Stuart Murdoch has done a fantastic job there.

"He has some good young boys and they will only grow with experience.

"They have got qualities that can hurt us if we don't do our job correctly but if we play as well as we can we can beat anyone."

Peter is looking for a rapid response after the frustrations of Saturday's 0-0 draw with Wimbledon, and adds:

"They were very disappointed, especially about the first half; that set the tempo.

"When you have home games you have to have people up right away - players and supporters - and you can't expect it just to happen.

"It looked like we were waiting for things to happen, hoping they would, instead of making things happen.

"There were a few harsh words said and the players know what is expected - it was not good enough.

"We are not good enough to be complacent about beating anyone, even if we do have great players.

"We know what teams are going to do, so we have to do our own jobs correctly."

Peter says the fact that, if Bobby Zamora's early 'goal' had stood it might have been a different game, is immaterial and he explains:

"If that doesn't happen it doesn't mean you put in a poor performance - and you can't make excuses for that."

"It doesn't bother me whether it was offside or not - the performance wasn't good enough.

"The players know that the expectation for West Ham United is to play attractive football and win every game you play.

"That is not going to change or go away - and that is why you sign for this club."

It was the first 45 minutes which caused the damage, says Peter, who adds:

"We felt the game was 'lost' in the first half because we always think if we play as well as we can there will be no disappointment, even if we are then unlucky and draw 0-0.

"We never grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and we shouldn't have to ask that of our players - we have got to expect it."

Neither will he use the absence of Matthew Etherington as an excuse, and he says:

"There is no doubt we missed Mattie because he is a top quality player, but Adam Nowland is a top quality player, Reo-Coker is a top quality player, and so on.

"Mattie gives you a balance because he is naturally left sided and apart from Jon Harley he is the only left sided player we have - but it wasn't just about that.

"Other players have come in and didn't show the great qualities that are demanded at this club - there are no excuses and we can't feel sorry for ourselves."

West Ham may need as many as 10 wins now and Peter says:

"We can win 12 out of 12; we have got the quality to do it but that doesn't mean anything on paper.

"We have got to do that on the pitch, earn it there, and accept responsibility - it has to be much better.

"The players understand that and know Saturday wasn't acceptable; we have all got to take a hard look at ourselves.

"I have known for many years about this club and if you said to a player 'do you want to come and play for West Ham United?' they would walk on broken bottles to do it.

"It is the opportunity of these players that they must grab; they must not be frightened, they must excel and become big players."

On the plus side, Peter feels that the team coped at the back despite the loss of Hayden Mullins, and he adds:

"I thought the back four were solid, to be fair; Tomas did well at full back, Andy Melville is a top quality player and professional, so there was no problem when Hayden went off in that respect."

But Peter feels the side has to add a bit of steel and adds:

"I would say 95% of the football since I have been here has been good but you have to work hard for these supporters and the first tackle on Saturday was on about 40 minutes, which is just not acceptable - and can't happen.

"We want to play excellent football, of course, but we have to win the first and second balls as well.

"The best teams have got some aggression about them and aren't 'nicey-nicey'; I am not talking about kicking people, I am talking about winning first and second balls.

"You have to put tackles in when it is merited and you put your head in where it hurts, and if we can get the ball on the deck we have got the best players to pass the ball.

"Every team is going to make it difficult for us, whether home or away - we are the Manchester United of this division and if a team takes a point off you it is like winning the World Cup for them.

"That is not going to go away; we just have to accept that.

"But if we show the qualities we can, that is what it is all about - it wasn't lack of effort on Saturday, just lack of quality and thinking."