WEST HAM manager Avram Grant believes his team cannot afford to lose any of their remaining three matches if they are to remain in the Premier League.
Grant’s side slipped to a fifth straight defeat with a 2-1 loss at Eastlands and they remain rooted to the bottom of the Premier League, three points from safety.
Next they face Blackburn at home before meeting fellow strugglers Wigan and finishing the season with a home game against Sunderland.
Grant had previously claimed his team would require nine points from their last four games but now thinks that seven will be enough, although it will be quite an ask for a team in such wretched form.
He said: “I think it will be between seven and nine. In the last two games most of the teams fighting relegation were playing at home and I thought they would take more points than they did.
“I thought it would be nine and now I think it might be seven. We need to take the points, there’s no doubt about this. We can’t do anything except taking points but we have shown even today that we can do it. Now we have to get the points, it doesn’t matter how. It will be a good game, a good opportunity.”
City can secure Champions League qualification with two victories from their four remaining games and Roberto Mancini has declared himself satisfied with his team’s campaign.
He said: “Our target at the start of the season was the Champions League and now we are in fourth, seven points above Tottenham and Liverpool and have the FA Cup.
“I think we have done a good job until now.
“We can relax after May 22 but before that, no, because we think that we should do the maximum of what we can do.
“Everything is in our hands because for all the season we have stayed at the top between first and fourth position.
“I think after what we have done, we deserve to be in the Champions League, but we have another four games — it is not finished.’’
Mancini, however, admitted his players may have been guilty of thinking their job was done after they raced into an early two goal lead yesterday.
Following Nigel de Jong’s opener in the 10th minute, City appeared to be cruising to victory when Pablo Zabaleta doubled their advantage on the quarter hour mark with a shot that went in via Lars Jacobsen.
The Hammers hit back in the 33rd minute through Demba Ba and City then missed a series of chances to score a third.
It eventually turned out that they had done enough.
“At this moment, at the end of the season, every game is difficult and if you play against a team that is trying to avoid relegation, it is very, very hard,” Mancini said.
“I think we started the game very well, playing fantastic football and scoring two goals.
“Probably after these two goals we thought it was finished, but it never is until the referee blows the final whistle.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved