Grant: I can't get no sleep

Published Dec. 18, 2010 11:48 a.m. ET

West Ham boss Avram Grant knows full well pressure at the top and bottom of the game can "kill you" - but would not have it any other way.

Grant's position has been the subject of intense speculation, although the Israeli has denied suggestions he had been given an ultimatum by owners David Gold and David Sullivan to deliver at least one win from the festive schedule, which starts at Blackburn.

Having come within a penalty kick of winning the Champions League at Chelsea, and also guiding financially-crippled Portsmouth to the FA Cup final after they had been relegated last season, Grant has certainly experienced the highs and lows of football management.

The 55-year-old also bumped into current Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti when out for dinner recently, the Italian himself troubled by his own side's dip in form.

Grant therefore knows the beautiful game can takes its toll, but that is what makes it so addictive.

"When you say football today the second thing you say is pressure, so I think you can direct the pressure, the pressure can push you to achieve things, but it can kill you also," Grant said.

"I met Carlo in a restaurant. He was tired. It is not easy times for managers.


"You sleep less because you are thinking about how to do things and how to improve things, but I take it also as a challenge.

"However, even when you are at the top you also don't sleep. Being a manager is a life without sleeping sometimes."

Grant has already faced one "Save Our Season" match, when West Ham beat Wigan at Upton Park on November 27 and followed up with a stirring 4-0 win over Manchester United to reach the semi-finals of the Carling Cup.

But he dismissed suggestions he did not still have the full support of the board.

"I am not a naive person. I enjoy working with these owners. I am speaking with them and what they say I believe," he said.

"We did not talk about [my future], we were speaking about the team, about January, how to improve things, the financial situation, normal things, what I was dealing with at Chelsea with [Roman] Abramovich, and last year at Portsmouth."

Grant insists even if he was told his next match could be the last, it would not change his approach.

"I say 'What does it matter? If it is true or not true, will it change your tactics? Change your desire to win the next game?' It will not change anything.

"We know in what job we are that sometimes we don't know what is around the corner, but it does not change anything.

"I still love football so much, I love the creation and the challenge. We have a big challenge here at West Ham.

"The minute I think I cannot reach the challenge, not only to stay in the league, but more than this, I would think about it [future] without hesitation, but for now let me believe in the people I work with."

Grant remains defiant his team can beat the drop.

He said: "Unfortunately we didn't take points in the games when we were much better than the other team, but I cannot come out and say 'This is not good or that is not good'.

"We need to improve things, but many things here, on the football side, are good and we need to keep doing this.

"I can see the spirit, how much they want to win and I know the quality. It is not easy, there is no weak team this season, but it is possible."