'Big win' cheers Grant

Avram Grant was full of praise for his players for the vital 3-1 victory against Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

Valon Behrami and Scott Parker each scored on their return to the midfield, either side of Victor Obinna's first Barclays Premier League strike in claret and blue. It was a perfect afternoon that also saw Robert Green save a Mauro Boselli penalty at two-nil, before the SBOBET man of the match was beaten late on by a Wigan consolation he could do little about for Tom Cleverley.

"It was a big win, a convincing victory," said Grant. "I am happy for that. I hope and I am sure that it is only the beginning.

"We were more efficient today. We had played well before Liverpool game and the performance was almost the same as we have been producing but we were more efficient. We could have scored a few more goals. We had three or four other big chances. This is the difference. We scored goals and this is the name of the game."

Even so, Grant conceded that his reshuffled team - that also included James Tomkins in at centre-back alongside Matthew Upson and winger Junior Stanislas for his first appearance of the season - had begun in hesitant fashion.

"We started a little bit nervous, which I understand with our position in the league and the game against Liverpool [last weekend]. Even then, the players always tried to do the right thing, they were always fighting and I am very happy because they responded."

It was Parker's return to the side after missing that Anfield date with a chest infection that most galvanised the team. The midfielder - who scored his sixth goal of the season - was simply outstanding again despite feeling the effects of that illness.

"He was great," added Grant. "Scotty represents the good old fashioned character of the English game better than anyone. He always gives 100 per cent, even if he is sick. He pushed to play and he did very well.

"He scored a fantastic goal. He is doing unbelievable things. He is the modern midfielder player. He wins balls, block shots, scores goals, gives assists. What else can I say? He was not at his best [health-wise] afterwards but he was happy. When you win you feel better."

Obinna and Piquionne proved they can be a potent partnership, with the former making Parker's goal and the latter setting up his fellow striker for his goal and also assisting on Behrami's opener. The manager, who was optimistic on Behrami's apparent injury late on, was delighted to see Obinna, in particular, break his league duck.

"Victor was close to goals in many games. Today he scored and gave a good assist. It is very important for him. Freddie also did a good job, he missed chances but he set up two goals. The other players worked very hard to help the strikers. We had seven or eight good chances overall."

While Wolverhampton Wanderers' win against Sunderland keeps the Hammers on the bottom, they are a win away from getting out of the bottom three. They welcome Manchester United in the Carling Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday before heading to Sunderland themselves next Sunday. Both games will be televised and Grant expects his team to rise to the occasion.

"It doesn't matter what other teams do. We need to do our job and only when you come to the last ten or eight games is it important what other teams do. A team in tenth position now could still end up at the bottom. We are only seven points from ninth place. This isn't a gap you cannot close with more than 20 games to go."