Peter: A Good Response

Peter Grant says the response in training to the defeat at QPR has been commendable - now he wants to see that attitude rewarded on the pitch.

Looking at the loss on Saturday, Peter says:

"It was a massive disappointment because the performance was way below what we expect from the players and, to be fair, to a man the players agree with the criticism they have had both from ourselves and the from people outside.

"To be perfectly honest, it wasn't a great game to watch from either team's point of view, but we have to concern ourselves with the way we perform - it was plain for anyone to see that we just did not pass the ball well and the distribution was poor.

"The ball was in the air more than anything else, we never strung more than three passes together, we had three shots on goal and they had one - and that summed the game up.

"On the day it was two average teams and if we had put anything like a performance in we should have won the game - but if you don't perform well, nine times out of 10 in this division you are not going to win games.

"We conceded a bad, bad goal with poor play, giving the ball away twice and then being caught by a pass - so we have made three mistakes to concede the goal.

"Now we have to put a performance in in a very difficult game, because Stoke are a team that came here last year - before I was here - and made it difficult for West Ham, winning 1-0.

"The way they play will not change and although people say they don't score many goals they let very few in; we will have to play a lot better than we did on Saturday because we require nothing less than three points."

Was it a case of being hustled out of things on Saturday?

"Anyone that is going to play against us is going to be like that," says Peter, "and we should be able to handle it - because they do every day in training.

"That means they are up against quality players during the week, day after day, and can handle severe pressure because that is the way we like to train - at a higher tempo.

"So to say we were hustled out of the game annoys me a little bit, because we should be able to cope with that.

"That would be just giving the players excuses, and the players were not looking for those after the game - we fell way below what is expected, as individuals and as a team.

"If you play well or badly that game gets put to bed right away - even if you get a fantastic result; although that is an old football cliche, it is a fact.

"Nobody remembers the last one, it is what you do next and if you win the Championship you are champions for six weeks because the summer comes and goes and all of a sudden someone else is trying to get the medals off you.

"That is what gives you that feeling every morning of having to go out and be better - if you stand still someone will always catch you up.

"You have to keep moving on and performing better; we have five gears and I still feel we haven't come out of second gear.

"That is the beauty of it considering we are sitting in sixth place - because we still have three gears to jump yet.

"You don't win games of football on paper, you have to perform and no one is going to give you anything lightly.

"The players have been a credit and when they were in training on Sunday and Monday the players were excellent; they know how disappointed everyone was with Saturday and they share that.

"I wouldn't always say that, but I can honestly say with my hand on my heart that the last couple of days have proven that."

Peter says the absence of certain players at Loftus Road can not be taken as a reason for defeat and adds:

"We could make all the excuses in the world and say we had four or five top players out on Saturday - but top players came in as well.

"Everyone else has tried to use that as an excuse, but we have put that on the back burner because these 23 or 34 top guys are capable of being the best.

"As a player when you get an opportunity you have to grab it with both hands; it is like signing for West Ham United, something that might come up once in a blue moon - you have to make sure you are ready for it.

"And you can still have a good effect on the team without being on the ball, by marking someone or creating space - but we didn't have enough of that on Saturday.

"We were very static and very ordinary, we didn't pass the ball and we didn't move with or without the ball - all the things you expect from top players.

"But now the thing to do is show them what you are made of and bounce back to win the next game, then the next.

"That is the way you want it to be and I would rather be at a club like that than just hoping to win."

Several players return to action, of course, and Peter says:

"You want the squad to pick from and competition makes you better; the four or five that came in should have put down a marker but they didn't play to the standards they are capable of."

As for the need for more goals, Peter says it is simplistic to simply blame the forward line.

"At the end of the day the more you score the more confidence you will get from the team.

"But to get that we need better service to the front men and we need more people chipping in with goals as well," he explains.

"It all combines; you need to defend as a group and attack as a group - when you say you need more goals the finger is often pointed at the front men, but, although that is a major part of it, if you are not getting the service up front - even if you are Ronaldo - you are not going to score any goals."

Peter hopes for good support on Tuesday but adds:

"I am not one for patronising supporters; it is fantastic when they are singing and dancing, without a shadow of a doubt, but at the end of the day if I go to a show I am expecting to be entertained.

"I would expect the team to play well and if they are not, then they will be told by the crowd; but when they are behind us they are like an extra player.

"I believe if you play well and score goals they will be behind you all the time, and you can't make the high expectations an excuse.

"If the fans are on your back you have to cope with that, and if you turn it round there is no better feeling, let me tell you."

The game marks a year in charge for Alan Pardew and Peter says:

"There have been a lot of changes but a tough year is when you are at the bottom; our toughest time has been dealing with not getting back to the Premiership, but we have no divine right to anything.

"We have to work, not just in matches but in training and everything else.

"It has been tough for the supporters because they have been used to being in the top flight and there has been a lot of frustration.

"We are hoping we have turned things round in terms of standards and professionalism and hopefully we are moving in the right direction.

"In that period you will have your ups and downs and we have had a few kicks in the backside but what you have to do is never give in."