Avram on Friday

Avram Grant has conducted his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday's Barclays Premier League trip to Sunderland.

The West Ham United manager discussed a wide-range of issues, including the high confidence in the squad following back-to-back wins, beating the cold snap and having a welcome selection dilemma.

Grant also talked about his happiness with Carlton Cole, Jonathan Spector and new defensive coach Wally Downes, as well as England's failed bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Avram on Sunderland…

This is one of the most difficult games for every team to go to Sunderland. They are very good, especially at home, and have performed well. They have a good, very balanced team. They have spent money on good players who have made a good impact.

It won't be easy but our target is to make it not easy to play against us.

They are scoring a lot of goals, they have good forward players and players with good delivery. It will be a tough game for the defence but we defend as a team so it's not only the back four.

Avram on a successful week…

I felt that the supporters were very happy and I think, for us, it was very important that after they went a long way to Liverpool and the game was not good, that we worked hard for the supporters and the people around us. Seeing all of them so happy made me happy.

About the team, I think it's about time that we won games. We have always been on the edge of drawing or winning most of our games. In most of our games, we were the better team, but you cannot take any points from being the better team, only if you score more goals.

The game against Wigan was good for us as we got three points and, of course, the game against Man United when we won with good football and without key players showed we have a good squad. For me, it's good.

I think the performances and results were important for the players because psychology is also important, especially because the players felt they played well but didn't get the points. We were more clinical in the box, so of course I feel everything is looking better.

The key word in sport is 'next', so the next game is the most important. We have a very tough game in Sunderland and we want to take a good result there.

Avram on snow disrupting training…

I think it hasn't been easy for all the teams. I saw that on television that clubs have had a lot of trouble with their training grounds. We trained today at Upton Park which was good for us, but normally we are training at the training ground. It was no problem.

Surprisingly, the players came in on time even more than on normal days, including one or two who are always late!

Avram on having a selection dilemma…

I think that every player that has a good performance has a chance to play. After we won against Sunderland in the Carling Cup without seven players who had played in the league the game before, we performed well in the games after.

I think competition between players is the heart of sport. I personally prefer this situation to the way it was in the beginning of the season when we needed to look for eleven players to play.

Avram on Jonathan Spector in midfield…

Of course he is an option. For the last month we tried him in midfield. We changed his position and he did well for us. This is important because you know all our midfielders were injured and couldn't play - it started with Hitzlsperger, then Mark Noble and Valon Behrami and, last week, we were without Scott Parker. It's good for us to have one more midfielder who can play.

Avram on Scott Parker's availability…

He trained this week but we don't know yet if he can play on Sunday. Of course, we will not take any risks. He also trained before Manchester United but didn't play.

Avram on Carlton Cole…

Some players, when they don't perform well and are a little bit disappointed with themselves, say some things, but all of this is inside the club. I don't deal with any players through the media. What I have to say to the players, I said to them.

The most important thing is that he scored two goals because he didn't start the season so well. The last two weeks he's been working very hard and for a striker, the most important thing is to score goals. He scored two goals and I believe he will score more.

I like to speak with the players because when you speak with them face to face they tell you what they think and I tell them what I think. You know, there is only one man who takes the deicisions.

Carlton always try to do his best in training but after this game where his performance was not good [at Liverpool], he reacted very well and tried even harder. He got his reward this week.

My relationship with all the players is good. I feel like they are my family. Sometimes even if one of your family is not doing good, you tell them not to do it again. If it happens two or three times, then you need to think about things, but what we have to say to the players, we say it face to face.

We want him to be here but you never know what will happen in football. We want to keep this squad. I don't like the January transfer window because it's not easy to bring players in and we don't want to lose players. We want to keep the same squad for all the season.

Avram on Wally Downes…

He has done a good job. Normally I don't judge people after one week because you want to give them time, but Wally made a good impact.

It's very important in English football to have coaches with specific roles and we will do that here, step by step.

He has come as a defensive coach with a lot of energy and commitment and even in only one week I am very pleased with him.

Avram on England's unsuccessful 2018 FIFA World Cup bid…

I know it is disappointing for everybody because we have the best league in the world with all the passion around and everything, but that's life sometimes.

It's going to Russia, which I think is a good country.

Avram on the perception of England across the world…

There are always people who are jealous of the rich and successful. In my country, everybody loves English football. The league is very exciting and the people are very passionate about football. I don't think there is an issue with this.

I don't think there is any person or country in the world that everybody loves. I don't think this is the situation.

I know what FIFA is doing - they are trying to bring football to other areas of the world. Maybe this is the situation.

Avram on England's bid…

On the football side they could not do better - they have the best league in the world and facilities are great. There is the passion of the people. Everything is at the top level.

At the end of the day, 22 people make the decision so it is not the decision of the world. People sometimes have their reasons to vote for this or for other things. I think it's a secret who voted for who but I don't think England did something wrong.