Manager on Monday

Avram Grant will pick his players  up again this week after they followed their epic cup victory against Stoke City by giving Arsenal a real run for their money at the weekend.

With the likes of Manu da Costa - who took a whack on his ankle - and Scott Parker having played 120 minutes in the Carling Cup win that took the club through to a last-eight date against Manchester United, Avram Grant's men arrived at the Emirates with few neutrals expecting much. What they saw was a "heroic" display despite a 1-0 loss that bodes well for the battles ahead.

The manager is under no illusions about the club's league placing but also knows full well that a win or two can make a drastic difference, having guided his team to just one defeat in seven before Saturday. Starting next weekend at Birmingham, the club have three major matches in eight days - with the latter two being home games against top-flight newcomers West Bromwich Albion and Blackpool.

"No one is happy with our position, but at this stage of the season, one win can make the picture look so much different," said the manager. "We are only in November and we know we can do it with the matches we have coming up. Many things were very positive at Arsenal. The fighting spirit was good and the players can be proud of the way they played against a very good team.

"We have a long way to go. We will pick out the many positives from that, work hard in training this week and I know we will take points. We had a tough game in midweek but we deserved to win and even though some played extra time and some were just coming back from injury, they kept going.

"I am pleased with their effort. It was just unfortunate there was no time to respond. We tried but from their point of view they scored in the perfect moment. Arsenal are a very good team but we did a very good job tactically."

The manager, who could run the rule over some more of his squad in Tuesday afternoon's home reserve-team match against Manchester City, also has that Carling Cup quarter-final too look forward to in a month's time.

Although paired with holders Manchester United, Grant said his team have what it takes to win. "It will be difficult but I believe we can get through to the semi-finals. We are at home and that is our target."

But league matters will rightly dominate before then, and Grant is undeterred. "The difference between us winning games is very small thing. We are doing all the right things. The next couple of months are very important for us and I am encouraged by the performances. It would be different if we were not playing well."