Balance is key for Grant

Avram Grant has spoken of his determination to have a "good atmosphere and a good feeling" around the squad as they prepare for the new season.

The feelgood factor has been high at Chadwell Heath since the return to training last week and the coming seven days will see things step up with Scott Parker back in from Monday, the first pre-season friendly away to Peterborough United on Wednesday and the departure for a training camp in Germany this Friday.

Potential new arrivals over the coming weeks will also do much to help morale. That said, Grant said it was important to get the balance right between fun and focus. "I have passion but the job of the manager is to make decisions. When you are in the game you have to take a lot of decisions but more [important is] to know what [decisions] not to make.

"I prefer myself to concentrate during the game, so if my face is serious I apologise. But, in the game it is not a joke. Out of the game, I like a good atmosphere and a good feeling. I like this also during training with the players - as long as they are 100 per cent committed to be professional and give everything to the team."

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While Parker is back, two of Grant's other English internationals in Robert Green and Matthew Upson will not join up with the squad for a few more days as is also the case for fellow World Cup players Jonathan Spector and Valon Behrami. The manager is looking forward to working with such senior players and rejects the doom and gloom of some that followed the nation's early FIFA World Cup exit.

"People have a very short memory. Three months ago, the English players were the best in the world. The qualification was great. Everything was great. Everybody was happy and it was good to be around the English players.

"It is individual. It is not English, it is not French. There are very good things in the English mentality but also things that need to improve. I think you need to improve first how they come to big games and big events. They are not showing their real potential. Everybody knows they can play better.

"I have got faith in English players. Since I was 20 I have been coming here at least five times a year so I know the English mentality - sometimes better than [the English] because I am inside and also outside. You need to believe in these players, they are good players but sometimes even big players make mistakes.

"You don't need to judge the players every game. They were not heroes when they were good in the qualification and they are not so bad now when they played not good in the World Cup. You need to give them a target how to improve and what to give and I am sure there is enough good players in England."