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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

Grant: Refs have cost us points

Avram Grant believes West Ham have suffered at the hands of referees more than any other team this season and could have already secured Premier League safety had it not been for dubious decisions against them.

• League to end ref abuse
• West Ham v Man Utd preview
• Grant won't set points target

The Hammers are 17th and outside the relegation places on goal difference alone as they head into their Saturday lunchtime clash with leaders Manchester United at Upton Park.

Grant believes teams will need 40 points or more to secure their top-flight status this year and thinks his side could be ten points better off had they had better luck with referees.

"I think we have suffered more than any other team because in the very deciding moments, as everyone has seen on the television, the decision was against us too many times,'' he said.

"If the decision was right, we would have had at least ten points more. But this is part of the game, sometimes there are decisions against you. You can accept one decision that was for us, but most of the decisions were against us.''

Speaking on Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson's comments that his side has suffered from poor decisions recently, he continued: "Everybody understands what Alex said and what he spoke about in the last games. I don't know about Man United, I think about us. This is referees - sometimes they make mistakes.''

Refereeing decisions have been increasingly scrutinised in recent times and both Ferguson and Grant have been reprimanded by the Football Association in the past month for comments about decisions.

However, the latter does not believe refereeing standards are slipping and thinks mistakes are due to the changing nature of the game.

"I think if you look at games even five years ago and now - and I suggest to everybody that they look - the game is much quicker, more players are athletes,'' he said.

"Even if you look ten years ago half of the players were athletes and half were technical. So the game has become more physical and more quick, and it is more difficult for the referees to take decisions.''

He added: "I have a few ideas but I don't want to speak about this now because sometimes when I say what I think, people think I am criticising the referee, which I don't have any intention to do.''

Grant was charged with improper conduct by the FA in March following comments he made about match official Mike Jones after his side's 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Stoke.

The West Ham boss denied the charge and a personal hearing will be scheduled at a date no later than April 7.

Asked what was the worst decision against his side this season, he responded: "The last time I answered very honestly and the FA charged me so let's say that all the decisions were great.''

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