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By ESPN Staff

Grant pleads for time to turn West Ham around

Avram Grant has demanded patience from West Ham fans as he faces up to the daunting task of halting his team's poor start by registering an unlikely win against his former club Chelsea on Saturday.

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• Preview: West Ham v Chelsea

West Ham have endured their worst start to a league campaign in 33 years after losing all three of their opening matches against Aston Villa, Bolton and Manchester United.

West Ham chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan appointed Grant in the hope that he would be able to bring success and stability to a club that only just managed to avoid relegation to the Championship under Gianfranco Zola last term.

Despite a host of summer signings, former Portsmouth boss Grant has failed to turn around the fortunes of the team, however, which has led to questions regarding his future at Upton Park. Defeat against the Premier League champions would give Grant the unwanted tag of having guided the Hammers through their worst start to a season in the club's history, but he is not a worried man.

"In football you always need patience,'' Grant said. "I am a long-term person and if you see my clubs before - even at Portsmouth and Chelsea, you see developing teams, they develop every match and you will also see the same here. We need not to think about one week or two weeks but longer.

"The most important thing about the table is the end of the season, not now. The teams that are in the second or fourth place in the league will not be there and I can guarantee that some teams that are at the bottom of the league will not be there at the end and I'm sure we will be one of them.''

Reports that Grant had been given a three-match ultimatum were denied by the club this week but rumours about the manager's future will continue to persist if West Ham fail to win any of their tricky upcoming fixtures against Chelsea, Stoke and Tottenham. Grant rubbished suggestions he was under pressure and insisted he was still enjoying life at the club.

"I'm enjoying the challenge here,'' said Grant. "I am enjoying it because it is a big challenge a good club and our vision is good and if we do the things we want to do here over the next few years then West Ham will be a good team.''

While Grant plots how to haul West Ham off the foot of the table, he can only marvel at Saturday's opposition, who sit proudly at the top of the pile having recorded a perfect start to the season with three wins from three matches. Carlo Ancelotti's double-winners go into the match having hit the net 14 times without reply so far this term. Grant, who spent eight months as Chelsea manager two years ago, rates the Blues as they best in the country but insists his team can get a result at Upton Park.

"They are the best team in England now,'' he said. "They play the best football they have played together a long time. We are a new team that needs to develop but I think in football you cannot think in negatives. Think negative and then you'll lose the game. They are a very good team and I think in football anything can happen. We need to think this.''

Many sympathised with Grant's plight when he was sacked as Chelsea boss after taking the team to the Champions League final and missing out on the league title by just two points. The 55-year-old insists he holds no grudges against his former employers though.

"Tomorrow I would like to win for West Ham,'' he said. "I have never felt in my life that I am against something or someone. I need to do my job for my club, that's all.''

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