Avram hails awesome night

Avram Grant suggested Jonathan Spector might have taken a tip or two from El Clasico when asked about his midfield marvel's performance in the 4-0 win against Manchester United.

The American international was simply brilliant in the heart of the Hammers team on a special Carling Cup quarter-final night, ably standing in for Scott Parker with a superlative box-to-box display.

When asked to explain Spector's two-goal show on a snowy night in east London, a smiling Grant said: "I think he saw the Barcelona game yesterday and thought I can do that! He played very well, he took his chance. It was a special night.

"It was very good from Jonathan. He is a good professional who always tries hard. The last month we changed his position in the training to midfield and he has done very well."

With Grant admitting Parker will return to the side for Sunday's trip to Sunderland, he said he may have a welcome tough decision to make in picking his side. "I always look for problems like this with selection. Many players have given me good problems with their performances.

""It was a good win, good football. We continue to progress. I always thought we could win but it was an unbelievable result."

Carlton Cole also earned the manager's acclaim for his own double after the interval to put the contest beyond doubt and secure the first League Cup semi-final for the Hammers since 1990. His line-leading turn could also mean a headache in attack for Grant at the Stadium of Light, with Frederic Piquionne also due to return to contention.

"Carlton Cole knows the best way to do things is to speak on the pitch," Grant added. "He was brilliant today. From the first moment he worked very hard, caused a lot of problems and scored goals.

"It was the first time he did that for us and he was hungry to show he can do better. Every player sometimes has bad times but we have to wait and judge at the end of the season, not after 15 games."

Reflecting more on a result that was the club's biggest win against Manchester United for 80 years, Grant added: "We started very well. The movement was good, the passing was good, the defence was good. We started well and we continued like this. After the goal we created chances and half-chances.

"We scored four but could have scored but for me it is enough. To be in the semi-final is just great for this club and I am delighted for everyone - especially the fans. It was an unbelievable night and I am very pleased with how we played."