West Ham manager Avram Grant is relishing the ‘challenge’ ahead of him to keep his side in the Premier League.
Grant’s side welcome Stoke to Upton Park on Saturday and a win would see the East Londoners climb out of the bottom three.
And Grant claims he is thriving on the pressure as the relegation battle heats up.
“I feel the pressure and I enjoy it as much as you can,” he said. “If you are in a comfortable position it’s enjoyable but pressure can push you to think of solutions and what you can do better, so I think the pressure is good. Another word for pressure is challenge and I like the challenge.”
West Ham have been reinvigorated of late and are currently sixth in the form table behind the ‘big four’ and Tottenham, but Grant is unwilling to set his team a points target that could secure safety.
“Even if you calculate it, it doesn’t affect the preparation for the games,” he said.
“We want to win every game and each team in the last 10 places from the bottom has the chance to be relegated.”
“When we are at our best we are hard to beat, but we have tough games and no game will be easy, including tomorrow (Saturday).”
Stoke are on a run of five successive Premier league away defeats but Grant is well aware of their threat.
“Even the top teams have a difficult game against Stoke. They are very well organised, have a good manager who knows how to get the best from his players, but we must do our job and take the points,” he said.
Demba Ba almost joined Stoke in January but a deal fell through after the Senegalese striker failed a medical. But he has adjusted quickly to life at West Ham with three goals in two league starts and Grant was quick to praise his impact.
“I followed him for a long time in the Bundesliga. I like his movement and intelligence. He can score goals and we have seen that in the last games. He is not at his best yet but every game he is getting better,” Grant said.
Captain Scott Parker looks set to return after his shoulder injury and defender Matthew Upson has recovered from an Achilles injury while midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger has also been declared fit.