Grant expects better

Avram Grant has backed his players to show their fighting spirit once again after a hugely disappointing evening at Newcastle United.

More than 700 travelling fans made the trip to the north-east on a chilly Wednesday night, only for them to see the Hammers outclassed from start to finish in a 5-0 defeat. The manager made no excuses for a display where "everything went wrong" but called on his men to remember the form shown in four previous matches unbeaten.

"We are not happy with the performance and not happy with the result," he said. "But we did well before now and we will get back to that.

"It is difficult to explain what happened. It was a bad day at the office. Of course, we are disappointed to be back at the bottom but all that matters is where we will be at the end of the season. Our points situation has improved with the teams around us and we have to remember the form in the previous four matches."

Grant was certain he would see a positive reaction from his team, who now have an FA Cup third-round tie with Barnsley and then a huge Carling Cup semi-final first leg with Birmingham City to contemplate before resuming top-flight action a week on Saturday against Arsenal.

"We are confident in ourselves because we know the football we are capable of playing and that we can take points. We did well in difficult games recently away to Blackburn Rovers and Fulham and you can see this week how good those results were.

"I am sure we will get back to that form quickly. We will stay positive. We know not to judge things on one performance. We have bounced back before after difficult results and this will be the case. I don't like how we played but we know this can happen. Sunderland lost heavily at Newcastle and after that came back strong.

"It is frustrating because we had a good Christmas and New Year period but this is football. Everything we did went wrong and everything they did came off. We didn't play like we had before when we put pressure on the opponents and passed the ball well."

Without doubt the only Hammers performance really worthy of note on the night was that from the travelling support. Grant rightly said they deserved full respect. "I am sorry for the supporters, especially when so many came a long way. I am disappointed for them to see that performance after what we had given them in the previous two games."