Grant delighted after a night to remember

Delighted Alan Pardew had just seen the West Ham United ball make it first into the hat for Friday's FA Cup semi-final draw, but the Hammers' boss opted to let Peter Grant share the spoils of victory with the press, following our fantastic victory at Manchester City.

"Alan told me that it was about time I said something!" beamed the first-team coach after Dean Ashton's double destroyed ex-Hammer, Stuart Pearce's cup dream.

"And he also said at the weekend that because Saturday's defeat against Portsmouth was a massive disappointment for us, we wouldn't be taking much out of tonight's game.

"But it's a different story in the dressing room now. Tonight was a massive win for us and the boys are ecstatic.

"It was a manful performance because Manchester City made it very difficult for us. They lost players through injury and had a man sent off, too, and they're due a lot of credit for taking us right to the final whistle," continued Grant after seeing Hammers survive a frantic finale following Kiki Musampa's late volley.

"But I always thought that we were going to cause problems with our front two and with Deano's pace and power, we were always going to be a danger.

"Whenever Manchester City were attacking, I thought that we'd cause them problems if we could just regain possession and, again, Dean showed his quality and his ability."

Although the £7.25million striker's second goal was laced with controversy given Christian Dailly was lying prone on the Eastlands turf, Grant insisted that it was innocuous confusion rather than calculated cunning that led to Ashton netting his fifth goal from half-a-dozen starts.

"It was an unfortunate incident and a pity that the second goal was scored in that manner," admitted the Scot. "Stuart Pearce was showing fantastic sportsmanship by trying to get his players to put the ball into touch but all the play was happening on the opposite side of the pitch and nobody could see that Christian was hurt.

"We lost the ball but then we won it back and fortunately we got the break. Now we're chuffed that we're in the semi-final of the FA Cup because some players can go throughout their entire careers and never get this far.

"Most of the boys at West Ham are young and it's now a great opportunity for them.

"We've always said right from the start of the season that we want to finish as high up the league as we can and that's why the defeat against Portsmouth was such a massive disappointment. We were hurt by Saturday and we must make sure that something like that doesn't happen again this season.

"Tonight we told the players that they couldn't afford to play like they did at the weekend and blow this opportunity - after all, it could be the one and only chance of their career - but we're there now and we want to go all the way and win the competition.

"Every player has got to play for his place in the team, though," warned Grant. "If you want to play in the semi final then you've also got to be at your best in our Premiership matches, too.

"The Premier League is still massive for us and our final position will determine whether we've had a good season or a very good season.

"Now we've got to be at our best again, starting at Wigan Athletic on Saturday and then against Manchester United, Charlton Athletic, Chelsea and all our other remaining games.

"Meanwhile, we're in Friday's semi-final draw and that was the most important thing for us tonight.

"It doesn't matter who we find ourselves against because it'll be difficult. Just like us, our opponents will know the prize because once you're in an FA Cup semi-final, you're so close to the final and getting the chance to win it."