Grant relishing challenge

Avram Grant is relishing the challenge of improving the fortunes of West Ham United.

Speaking at a packed Boleyn Ground press conference to announce his official unveiling, the new Hammers manager spoke excitedly about his long-term plans for the coming seasons.

Grant, who has signed a four-year contract, is looking forward to working closely with the club's passionate owners, supporters, staff and players.

"I'm very happy to be here. It's a good club," the 55-year-old confirmed. "It's my first few days here and so far it's good - they have good people here, it's a good squad and I like it.

"It's a big challenge but it's a good challenge because it is a club that wants to progress. It is very different to my last two clubs but I like it that we have a target not just for one season but for more than one season. I think it is good.

"I think we can progress in one season. We can build a platform so we can progress every season. I think at the end of the year, if the players can look at themselves and you can look at them and most of them are better than now in July, we will know it is a giant step forward."

Avram Grant

The new manager has arrived in east London following successful spells in charge of the Israeli national team, Chelsea and Portsmouth.

With nearly 25 years of coaching experience behind him, Grant is the perfect man to evaluate what needs to be done to help West Ham enjoy a successful future.

That future, the new manager hopes, will see talented players arrive at the club from two sources - the unrivalled Academy and by shrewd dealing in the transfer market.

"The economic situation is not too easy not just for West Ham but for other clubs. We have a vision in our club and targets at other clubs and I can tell you that our target is not only for next season, but for the following seasons, is progression.

"We want to progress. We want our own Academy to progress, attracting good players. We are moving to a new facility, which will be good for the club. We also want the team to make good progress and we want to do it with good players.

"We want to build a platform so that, each season, we will progress. I think we will do it because we have good players in this club, but of course we want to make the squad stronger."

While Grant is planning to bring in further recruits to join new signing Thomas Hitzlsperger, the Germany midfielder, the manager knows there are already plenty of talented players at the club.

"Our target is to progress with good players, so we continue to use the players from the Academy, because we think they are doing a good job. We will try to find good talent and to give them a chance to play the football we want to play, but we also need some good experienced players with talent and Thomas is one of them.

"He is a good player and a very good professional. He is positive about everything he is doing. He knows how to defend and he knows how to attack and we are very happy that he is here.

"I think it's a good squad but any squad needs to be fresh and have players that can make it better. I am looking forward. I looked at the DVDs but for me and the players, it is a new beginning. They have something to prove and the club has something to do. For me, they are starting from the beginning and we will see how they will be. If most of the squad makes progress, we will not need many players."

Avram Grant

Grant refused to be drawn when asked about individual transfer targets, but was positive about maintaining the services of England internationals Robert Green, Matthew Upson and Scott Parker.

"With the targets of the club, it is very important that we have good experienced players and there is no doubt that Scott Parker is one of them. I watched him last year and DVDs of all the games last year and even though I don't want to look back, I only want to look forward, I can tell you that Scott Parker is very important for us. He is a good football player and has quality.

"Robert Green is on vacation. I spoke with him. He's a great goalkeeper and he proved himself in the past. He's a positive person, so we are happy that he is here. For me, as it is with all the other players, it is a new beginning. I am waiting for his first training session to see him and I'm sure he'll be OK.

"We will see [Matthew] when he comes back. Of course, we want Matty Upson to stay with the club."

While Hitzlsperger, Green, Upson and Parker are all important players, Grant closed by insisting that every member of his squad has a role to play in the club's future if it is to be successful.

"I think team spirit is very important because we can improve the quality of the players here but we cannot improve it by 100 per cent. We can improve it by 30 or 40 per cent, but with team spirit you can always reach a high level. With my national team, Chelsea and Portsmouth, nobody can complain that for one minute that a player didn't give everything. I expect this will be the same here in West Ham."

Should Grant foster the same spirit that took Chelsea to the UEFA Champions League final and Portsmouth to last season's FA Cup final, then every West Ham supporter will have great cause for optimism.

"It was good for me to be in Chelsea and it was also good for me to be in Portsmouth because the players and supporters were great and it was a great club in a difficult time. These belong to the past but what I learned I will take with me because all my life I like to learn. It's a new challenge and a good challenge because this club can be a very, very good club."