Football

Grant: Last-gasp win a mental boost

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West Ham manager Avram Grant believes his struggling team came through a psychological barrier with their 1-0 Carling Cup second-round victory over Oxford.

The Hammers required a Scott Parker goal deep into injury time at Upton Park to secure their first win of the season against a team who only returned to the Football League in May after four troubled seasons as a non-league club. But Grant is confident that the nature of the victory will give his side the heart to step up their fight in the Premier League.

The Hammers face Manchester United and Chelsea in their next two matches and Grant said: "Mentally it is not just because it is the first win, but that we did it in the last moment. This team carried a lot of psychology problems. But they saw that if you don't give up and keep trying to do the right things you can score in the last moment."

He added: "When everything goes well we are okay, when it does not go well we are a bit nervous.

"When you play against a team not from our league they will always defend but I liked that the players continued to pass the ball and were not crazy to score. Manchester United are a very good team but it will be a good challenge for us."

Oxford manager Chris Wilder, meanwhile, was delighted with the determination showed by his side who are still looking for their first win after returning to the Football League.

He said: "The players grew into the game and enjoyed the experience and when you see the reaction of their goalkeeper (Marek Stech) at the end when he slid 40 yards on his knees in front of their supporters that says it all.

"I'm delighted for the football club. We've been off the radar for a long time and now we are back on it.

"I've got some good, athletic players. We've played well this season. We've not got the points total we should have done but the standard of performance is pretty high.

"We have to use this as a springboard to go and get our first win of the season. Even so, right at the end to see the ball in the back of the net was heartbreaking for everybody."

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Topics:
Football
Scott Parker
League Cup
Chelsea
Premier League
Manchester United
West Ham United
Marek Stech

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