Football

Grant hails Pompey 'ambassadors'

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Portsmouth boss Avram Grant hailed his players as ambassadors for the Barclays Premier League after their stunning comeback against Hull in the same week they were virtually condemned to relegation.

Grant's men were trailing 2-1 with three minutes remaining at Fratton Park, only for Jamie O'Hara to curl home a free-kick and Kanu to roll back the years and slot home a dramatic winner. It denied victory to Iain Dowie in his first match in charge of Hull but also proved Pompey were taking the rest of their league campaign seriously despite a nine-point deduction for going into administration.

"The Premier League can be proud that this game is an ambassador for them, not the people in the office making the decisions against football," Grant said. "I think we are doing a great favour to the Premier League and to football. If we play with our heads down, the fans would not come and that would be bad for the league."

He added: "We are trying to do our best for Portsmouth after the wrong decision was made against us. It was a decision to play until the end."

Much of the focus before the game was whether Grant would significantly weaken his team but instead he recalled David James in goal, while Tommy Smith prodded home the first equaliser after Caleb Folan had opened the scoring by deflecting home Craig Fagan's shot.

"What is a weak team?" Grant said. "We had six players out through injury. As long as I'm here we will come to every game with a high spirit. You don't have to give up.

"Football is more than football. It's very easy to break people and a team in difficult moments. You can only do what we did with the right spirit."

Grant described his meeting with the players when they discussed how to approach the rest of the season, with an FA Cup semi-final top of their agenda.

"I said that we need to be professional, we need to do our job on the pitch. Maybe in the future they can do something (about the nine points) but this is not my area. You saw the answer."

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Topics:
Portsmouth
David James
Caleb Folan
Football
Premier League
Craig Fagan
Tommy Smith
Tommy Smith
Hull City
FA Cup
Jamie O'Hara
Liverpool

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