Grant backs Portsmouth to avoid relegation

Avram Grant is convinced Portsmouth still have what it takes to survive in the Barclays Premier League, despite a resounding 4-1 home defeat to Arsenal and more financial worries.

Pompey issued a statement yesterday denying the club had been formally served with a winding up petition by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in relation to disputed VAT, PAYE and National Insurance contributions of a reported £3.5million.

While that matter may yet be resolved in a High Court hearing early next month to avoid administration, Pompey continue to operate under a transfer embargo imposed by the Premier League and face an uphill battle to save themselves from relegation.

Sections of the Fratton Park faithful chanted "Where's all our money gone?" and vented their anger towards owner Ali Al Faraj as chants of "Sack the board" and "You're not fit to run a club" rang out around the ground.

The substitution of captain Aaron Mokoena was also cheered but former Chelsea boss Grant insists all is not lost.

"When we get onto the pitch the players are trying to do their best. I know the board are trying their best," he said. "I hope to have some funds [in January].

"Even if it's a difficult situation, the team can stay in the league.

"One month ago we were seven points off safety, now we are four, but we need to do something.

"I feel the supporters are behind us and they are good for the team.

"The fans were here before any player, manager or owner, and they will stay after, so we need to do our best for the fans.

"I know there are problems off the pitch, but I cannot say anything about this.

"I have sympathy for the fans. We are trying to do our best for them. The situation is not easy."

Portsmouth are set to lose several players to the African Nations Cup, including goalscorer Nadir Belhadj, while there are reports the club could be forced to sell key men like England goalkeeper David James to stay afloat.

However, Grant said: "All the players in the team need to stay and I think the board know that.

"From the football side we need the players to stay and we need to make the team stronger.

"I know what the team needs to stay in the league and I'm sure we can do that."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had sympathy for Portsmouth's plight on a day when it was announced Roman Abramovich has all but wiped out Chelsea's £340million debt by turning an interest-free loan into shares.

Wenger said: "Professional football is about winning and balancing the budget.

"That is the basic rule and one which I fought for. All the rest is half cheating.

"I don't speak about what has happened here, but that is what I am for.

"For every club it has to be the same, for Chelsea, for everybody. I always pleaded for financial fair play."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map