Avram on Friday

Avram Grant has held his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League visit of Manchester City.

The West Ham United manager discussed a wide range of topics, including City's title aspirations, the January transfer window and the importance of picking up points over the busy festive season.

Avram on preparing to face Manchester City…

We will prepare, more or less, like we would for any other game. They have very good team, a lot of good players and have invested a lot of money to be at the top. I think they are doing a good job most of the time so tactically we will prepare like any other game - we'll try to stop their strongest side and expose their weaknesses.

Avram on Manchester City's title aspirations…

I think they will challenge until the end of the season because they have a big, very good squad with many good players. They will fight for the championship until the end.

I think they can win the league, especially this season. I don't know the statistics but normally the champions only lose two or three games a season, but I think a lot has happened this season. The top teams are not so consistent in terms of quality and picking up points.

Any of the first six teams can take the title. I would not be surprised if Tottenham take it because they are playing very good football. I would be surprised if Manchester City take it and of course there are the other top four.

Avram on the need to get off the bottom of the table…

This is only psychology but the most important thing for us is not to be in the relegation zone at the end of the season. We are not even halfway through the season and are two wins from mid-table. We want to think positively and that we can do it.

We have shown good football in most of our games so we are thinking that we can get out of this.

Avram on needing more points to stay up that usual this season…

I am not sure about this. It's more or less always the same number of points you need to stay up. Last year, I think you needed less points to stay in the Premier League, but I don't think it will change from the normal level needed.

Avram on turning positive performances into points…

I'm waiting for the day when I can say that! What can I say? Other than the game against Liverpool, we could have taken points from every game we have played in the last two months, but we didn't pick them up.

I give you my honest opinion and I will continue to do it. I think I see positive things, but I want the correlation between positive things and wins to be like it was against Wigan and against Manchester United.

Avram on the importance of the Christmas and New Year fixtures…

It is a big target for us because all our games are against teams who are around us. These are games to take points from. We have less points than the other teams, so it will be very important for us, of course.

Avram on where the team needs to improve…

In football, I said to the players that we need to make sure we don't make the same mistake twice.

Our problems were two things - we didn't score enough goals and we conceded too many. In the last few matches we have averaged one goal a game conceded and last week we scored three against Wigan and four against United. That's progress for us.

Avram on coping with pressure…

It is nothing new. In my job, there is always pressure. Roberto Mancini will come tomorrow and there was massive pressure on him in the weeks before.

Now there is massive pressure on [Carlo] Ancelotti and one month ago we spoke about Arsene Wenger - all top coaches. I think, except for Sir Alex Ferguson, we have spoken about every other manager.

This is our job. We knew it from the beginning but it will not change the way we are working. We are working to bring results and succeed in the project we call West Ham. I believe in this.

Avram on Scott Parker…

I am confident we will keep him here. He is a good player and I think this is also a good club for him. He developed this season. Before this season everybody said that it was not good for him to stay in West Ham, but he has had his best season so far. It has been good for him and good for the club.

Avram on the January transfer window…

It is not a secret that we could be stronger. In one area we don't have any players and in other areas we have only one player. We had a lot of injuries this season, so we need to be stronger in a few areas.

We will try to do it in January - not massively, maybe two or three players depending on how much money we can spend. Basically, when everybody is fit, we have a good squad.

There are always stories before the transfer window and I believe that every week you will ask me about one player or the other.

We will have a lot of stories in the next few weeks not just about West Ham, but about other clubs too.

We are discussing about everything. You know that the owners took over a lot of debt and this season are working on the financial situation, so I don't think we will have much money but we are dealing with it now.

I think if we bring two or three players in we will be stronger than we are now, especially when we have players with a history of injuries. It can make us stronger, but anyway I think we will compete until the end.

It is not a good time to buy players because the market is not so open. When a team has a good player, they want to keep them unless you offer them big money and I understand that. We are not a top team who will offer top money for players.

It is not a good market and I don't like it, but sometimes you can use it to get better.

Any good players who can help us, we will take, but they have to be better than what we have now.

Avram on specialist coaches…

My vision about the method of training didn't change in the last few years. I spoke about this and I believe that in every area you need a specialist coach to do the job. Wally Downes has been here only two weeks and has had a good impact on the team.

If we find the right one [offensive coach] we will do it. We are trying to build the club step-by-step. We do not have a vision only for one month or two months. We said in the beginning of the season we are looking for a new way of coaching which will be good for our players and good for our club. We will do it step-by-step.