Green shines in narrow defeat

Avram Grant hailed his "heroic" players after only a late goal cost them a precious point at high-flying Arsenal on Saturday evening.

After only a late Alex Song strike gave the Gunners a 1-0 victory, the manager said he could not fault the attitude and application of his team - led by magnificent displays from Robert Green, Mark Noble and Scott Parker. The latter was the stand-in captain in the absence of Matthew Upson, with Herita Ilunga returning at left-back and Danny Gabbidon switching to the centre.

Although Arsenal had the attacking edge - Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and substitute Theo Walcott were all denied by Green's brilliance - the visitors were always in the contest. Roared on by terrific travelling support, the Hammers were also a threat and had the Gunners on their toes throughout.

Grant said: "I have watched Arsenal in many games and I think they created fewer chances than usual in this game. We have defended well and to lose in the last minute it is very disappointing.

"After a game against a very good team, we can take a lot of positive things from this match and also the last week [and the Carling Cup win against Stoke City]. We are not in a situation that we cannot change. We will win games, we deserve to win games and we will try to do that at Birmingham next Saturday.

"We are in a good situation in terms of our performances and I really believe we can do it. We have fighting spirit. It was a heroic performance today and it bodes well for the future."

The manager singled out goalkeeper Green for his superlative display in repelling the Arsenal attack but had praise for the whole side.

"I believe in my team," he added. "If we had a bad performance, then it would be different. We need to continue how we have been in the last eight games - we have lost one and then we lost today in a match that was very close. We know the difference between losing and winning is not that great."