Avram on Friday

Avram Grant has held his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to Liverpool.

The West Ham United manager discussed a wide range of issues, including his optimism ahead of the weekend visit to Anfield, receiving backing from the Board, the 'Club v Country' issue and the future of international friendly matches.

Grant also pushed Scott Parker's England claims and welcomed news that he could have funds to spend in January.

Avram on the challenge of going to Anfield…

"I enjoy it. It is the first club that I came to when I was 20 or 21 - it was a long time ago! It was the first time I visited a team and I was at Anfield with Bob Paisley. I enjoyed it very much.

"Nobody can say more than what people already know about the history of Anfield. It's one of the temples of football and I enjoy going there, but I enjoy more taking points there.

"It's always not easy to play at Anfield, especially when they need the points like now. They are a good team. They won three games in a row and played good football. They lost at Stoke but they could also have not lost there.

"In any case, it's not easy to play in Anfield against Liverpool but our target is like it was in the last games - to be hard to beat. We lost only two games in eleven - one of them against Arsenal in the last moment. We want to continue with this and also get a little bit more."

Avram on Pablo Barrera targeting a positive result at Anfield…

"I like that my players are optimistic rather than pessimistic because with pessimism you cannot achieve anything. I think he has based this on the fact we are playing good football.

"In the last game, we created so many chances. OK, I must also say that Blackpool created two or three big chances, but we created eight or nine big chances. It means that we know how to create big chances.

"In the two games before we scored two goals in each so I like when they are optimistic. I know the history books, but I don't like to read these books."

Avram on being happy with a draw at Liverpool…

"It depends on how the game goes. Sometimes, like when we went to Birmingham, we knew it was a very tough place to go because they had lost only one game, but we were disappointed with one point.

"I think in any game of football, situations occur where you can make surprises. This is our target, but we will see how the game goes. We want to win."

Avram on needing to register a victory…

"I think we played three games in a week, we didn't lose but we didn't win a game but we were very close to winning the games. We were the better team in all three games, I can say, and we feel it is very close.

"We are desperate for a win because we feel, when it comes, it won't come by coincidence but by a matter of procedure of how we played. We want to make this win and if it will be Saturday I will be happy.

"We hope that it will be, but I know that Liverpool are also desperate for points."

Avram on closing out matches…

"It depends how you play. If the other team come on top of you, then you need to close the game. If you play like we did against Birmingham when we kept possession and continued to play very well, hitting the bar and having two big chances to make it 3-0, it is no use to say after 60 minutes to close the game.

"We need to read the situation - sometimes you need to do it and sometimes not. When you come to the last 15 minutes, the most important thing is winning, but I don't think either Birmingham or West Bromwich scored when they put the pressure on us - it was two free-kicks, not an open goal."

Avram on receiving support from the Board…

"I think it's good to know and I know from inside that everybody shares the visions of the club, even though we are having difficult times. We know that we are doing the right things. Of course there are areas that we want to improve, but everybody shares the same vision and everybody knows that, even if we are bottom of the league, we are doing the right things and it will come.

"It's not easy. It's like a pregnancy of 20 months, but it will come.

Avram on January…

"It's always good that we have money to spend because football without money is very difficult. I think we have a good squad. We are a little bit unlucky with injuries to players who were in good shape, but there are some areas in which we could do better."

Avram on Scott Parker's England claims…

"I don't like to give other coaches advice unless they ask me, but I don't think there is another player who could do more than Scott Parker did this year to be in the squad. He is the most modern player

Avram on Steven Gerrard being injured on international duty…

"Of course I have sympathy, yes, because if you lose a player in this situation I understand. I have experience about this. If you remember, Thomas Hitzlsperger played for Germany. He was in a very good condition, then he played for Germany three days before the league started and played 65 minutes. This was at the beginning of the season, which I thought was not so good.

"I was a national coach for four years so I know the problem from both sides. I think everybody needs to understand that the players belong to the teams, with all respect to the national team. When they are friendly games, like it was with Thomas and Germany, they need to think twice.

"He didn't play and of course I don't like it. Of course things like that happen in football but I'd prefer if it had happened in the league and not in a friendly international game.

"He is a very good player, but Liverpool is a very good team anyway, so we will have a difficult game tomorrow."

Avram on the 'Club v Country' issue…

"There is an issue about this and because I was on both sides as a manager of clubs and a national team it's not so easy. I know that it isn't easy for the national teams either because they have only one or two games to prepare, but I think it's also good for them to take care of the players.

"The medical departments of the national teams and the clubs need to be very close like we did last week with the national teams."

Avram on clubs making agreements with national teams…

"Don't take me to this area because I don't know what they agreed about. We only read in the newspaper what they agreed about. Of course, if they agreed something they need to do it, but I'm not sure they agreed about something. I heard that Fabio Capello asked Gerrard in the first half.

"This is not the issue. The issue is that they need a very close relationship between the medical departments of the teams and the national team. This is for coaches also because in friendly games, and I was a coach in friendly games, you want to win but this is not the most important thing.

"I prefer that if they agreed about one friendly game, they should not have them between two league games, but now you take me to an area that is not my area. I understand that they want one friendly between September and March to test some things, but it's not so easy when you are playing and concentrating on the league and some players have injuries."

Avram on the future of international friendly matches…

"It's an issue that everybody needs to think about very, very carefully because friendly games, many years ago, were more than friendly games. Everybody liked to be there and everybody was excited. Now you see that players look for excuses not to be there because they know the most important thing is the league.

"On the other hand, sometimes you want a friendly game to test something. There are plusses and there are minuses, but I think today there are more minus than plus."