Survival is all that counts – Grant

Portsmouth manager Avram Grant admits keeping the club afloat has to be their top priority, after they lost 2-1 at home to Stoke on Saturday.

The Fratton Park outfit are now eight points from Premier League safety after Robert Huth’s header and substitute Salif Diao’s stoppage-time winner for the Potters cancelled out Frederic Piquionne’s opener.

But this defeat could prove to be particularly historic, as cash-strapped Pompey face a winding-up hearing in the High Court on March 1.

There is a possibility the home game against Stoke will prove to be their last, as the club could be closed down rather than put into administration, unless a buyer can be found.

Grant was hopeful of focusing on the battle to avoid relegation to the Championship, but he admits the club’s off-the-field fight has made this extremely difficult.

He said: "When I came today, I was hoping the battle would be on the pitch, but the battle for the future of the club is off the pitch.

"I think many people are doing all they can so that the club can survive. This is the main thing now.

"We’re trying to do our best on the pitch, but it’s not so easy with everything that is happening.

"I hope we will have some stability and I hope the court and the Premier League will understand they also have a responsibility.

"The football team does not only belong to the people who run it, it belongs to the fans. We need to think about this as well."

While there is chance Pompey may have played their last Premier League game at Fratton Park, Grant is determined to put such dark thoughts to the back of his mind.

The Israeli added: "Since I came, I’ve heard that this could be the last game or the last away game so many times.

"We are living from day to day here. We are trying to do everything to take care of the future of the club.

"For the moment, I don’t want to think about it. I’m still optimistic."

Despite his side suffering their 18th defeat of the season with Diao’s lightening counter-attack, Grant admits Pompey had no choice but to go for the jugular.

He said: "We tried everything to win because drawing and losing are the same for us. We went forward, but we didn’t score and they did from a counter-attack.

"Stoke defended well and our last pass wasn’t so sharp. The players were nervous and I can understand that.

"They wanted to win; we deserved to win, but in football there is no deserving. They have the three points, we have nothing."