Wenger recalls own difficult start to reassure Grant

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The Independent Football

Avram Grant, the West Ham United manager, has spoken to Arsène Wenger about the problems the Frenchman faced when he first arrived at Arsenal.

Grant's West Ham are bottom with six points from nine games, but Wenger reassured him that most managers go through difficult spells on arriving at new clubs, a message Grant embraced.

"I spoke with Arsène about this and he told me about his first year at Arsenal and that it was not so easy," Grant said. "There were many difficult things for him. Also Alex Ferguson was struggling in his first years at United. Harry [Redknapp] told me he saved Ferguson when he lost to him!

"I think there is no other way if you want to build something and have the right foundations. It takes time. Arsène Wenger and Alex Ferguson are a good example for this – imagine if they didn't let them continue after the first year. The history of Arsenal and United would be different and maybe we wouldn't have such a difficult game [today]."

Grant arrived at Upton Park in the summer and his problem has been climbing out of trouble following a dreadful start when his team lost their first four Premier League games of the season, with three goals conceded in each. They have only lost one from seven since, although the manner of their defeat to Newcastle last weekend alarmed fans. Co-chairman David Gold has since suggested it is premature to speculate about Grant's position, with the former Chelsea and Portsmouth manager insisting he is focused on getting the club out of relegation trouble.

"I'm focused on my job," Grant said. "I think we are doing the right things and have been unlucky not to get more points. It is not a good situation and we don't like it but it is only nine games. The owners always say they believe in this vision, even when we are facing difficulties. And I believe there is no other way. I signed for four years. We knew the first year would not be easy because of the financial situation."

Wenger himself has spoken effusively of Lukasz Fabianski ahead of the game. Fabianski is in the midst of his best run of form as an Arsenal player, and Wenger believes he has all that is required to realise his potential. "He's louder than you think he is. In the game I'm quite surprised how much he talks. He's what I call a 'natural goalkeeper', the rhythm of the game goes through his body. He smells what will happen. And he's technically very gifted."