Grant blast for winter schedule

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Avram Grant hit out at the scheduling that forced West Ham to play twice in three days after Tuesday's 1-1 draw against an Everton side who had an eight-day break before the match.

The Hammers blew the chance to haul themselves out of the bottom three as they were held at home by the Toffees two days after winning 3-1 at Fulham. Everton had also been due to host Birmingham on Sunday but saw their match postponed due to the big freeze.

Grant said: "It's not easy to play two games in 48 hours. This is the only country that plays two games in 48 hours."

He added: "They need to think about equal chances, because whoever's involved in sport - it doesn't matter if it's athletics, basketball, anything - to play two games in 48 hours is very difficult.

"It's okay if both teams have equal chances but if one team needs to play and the other comes fresh, it's a big disadvantage. We needed to change the team. Good, good players that played Sunday needed to be on the bench or not playing at all.

"Because of this, I'm very, very pleased with the efforts. Everybody gave more than 100%."

Buoyed by their first away win since the opening day of last season, West Ham took the lead when Tony Hibbert diverted Radoslav Kovac's tame overhead kick into his own net. Seamus Coleman drew Everton deservedly level before half-time, while substitute Carlton Cole missed a great chance to score a winner for the home side.

Everton boss David Moyes controversially left three strikers on the bench and played Tim Cahill as a makeshift target man.

"Manager's prerogative, isn't it?" said Moyes, who felt his side had "all the game" in the second half. "I would have needed to leave out (Steven) Pienaar, (Jack) Rodwell, (Mikel) Arteta out of the team to accommodate one of those players and I didn't see that was right. I thought my better players were on the pitch."

Moyes will lose Cahill for up to a month after Saturday's game at Stoke as he joins up with the Australia squad for the Asian Cup. He said of his forwards: "We need them to step up."

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Carlton Cole
Stoke City
Seamus Coleman
Tim Cahill
Tony Hibbert
Radoslav Kovac
West Ham United

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