Grant undeterred by defeat

Avram Grant will have a fortnight now to work with his squad - save for those on international duty - ahead of a major meeting with Chelsea at the Boleyn Ground.

The manager saw his side come up short against Manchester United on Saturday, although the 3-0 scoreline did not tell the whole story. The visitors showed a marked improvement from their opening-day defeat away at Aston Villa and, until the Reds were awarded a penalty a third of the way into the contest at Old Trafford, more than held their own.

"Until the penalty we were in the game," said Grant, of the moment when Jonathan Spector was adjudged to have brought down Ryan Giggs. "Manchester United were not dangerous and we played how we wanted to play. Then they got the penalty but I'm not sure it was a penalty.

"In the second half they scored very early [through Nani] and that made it very difficult. We played against a better team, who were at home. We were fine in the first half but it was different after the second goal and then it became too difficult for us.

"Our first half was good but they dominated the game in the second half. Although we were behind at half-time we were still in the game and we wanted to continue like that."

Deserving of special praise again was Kieron Dyer, with the No7 offering another lively performance on the wing as he continues his comeback. "Kieron Dyer was good and I think that every game is good for players who have not played for a long time. When we are more organised it will be easier for those players."

With Chelsea next, Grant accepts the early season scheduling has not favoured his team, who saw Dimitar Berbatov round out the home win with a volleyed third. "We knew we had tough fixtures from the beginning of the season and we knew that it would be difficult for us.

"It's important that we now have a two-week break and then we can start to pick up points."

Before the action starts again will come the end of the transfer window on Tuesday night, with the manager expecting one or two new arrivals to add to the half-dozen already added.

"We are trying to do some business but we cannot spend a lot of money. We are trying to bring in players like [new forward] Victor Obinna, who want to develop both themselves and with the team.

"What we are trying to do is not easy but we are trying to bring in two or three players. We are looking at more than one position in the team.

"We want to change things this season and we want players who can play for us next season, too. We know that we have a tough season and we need people to make the squad stronger."

He reiterated that Scott Parker remained integral to his thinking and looked forward to being able to get his new signings on the pitch to complement the Hammer of the Year. The likes of Winston Reid and Tal Ben Ham and Saturday substitutes Frederic Piquionne and Pablo Barrera have not had straightforward weeks on the practice pitches.

"A few of the new players are injured - Thomas Hitzlsperger, Winston Reid and Tal Ben Haim - and it's a pity that they were not in a very good shape to train until it was too late.

"Even though we knew that this game was important, we must look to the rest of the season and we did not want to risk them. They will play and we will have the full team that we want and things will look better.

"It will be a tough season and our target is not only for the beginning of the season. We have a lot of games ahead of us and if we win two games we will almost be in the middle of the table. I believe that we can do that.

"We know that want to progress but a few of the players we prepared in pre-season like Hitzlsperger - a key player - who we wanted to show from the beginning of the season got injured. It's not only about the first three games, we need longer to show the direction we want to go in."

Grant also confirmed that Robert Green - voted man of the match by the home supporters - was due to undergo a minor procedure this week during the international break. It is expected that he will be back in training before the Chelsea game on 11 September.