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Monday 21 January 2019

Grant hails Hammers as cats put out

West Ham boss Avram Grant paid tribute to strikers Frederic Piquionne and Victor Obinna after seeing them dump Sunderland out of the Carling Cup.

The pair each claimed their first goals for the club at the Stadium of Light as the Black Cats saw their hopes of a cup run go up in smoke.

Grant, who made seven changes to the side which drew at Stoke at the weekend, was rewarded with a performance which thoroughly warranted a first victory of the season over top-flight opposition.

Grant said of his strike pairing: "They worked very hard, moved very well and played well together -- but all the team behind them played well.

"We passed the ball very well in the midfield so it was more easy for them to find space to score.

"We want to play always with the same style, this is our target. If you saw our last games, except the first one against Aston Villa, we have been playing the same.

"Always we progress, and today it was the same game as against Chelsea, but with a result."

Black Cats boss Steve Bruce had hoped record-signing Asamoah Gyan would dazzle on his first start for the club, but his 41st-minute goal proved one of few bright spots on the night.

His headed strike cancelled out Piquionne's 35th-minute opener, but the Black Cats were unable to build on scoring the equaliser.

Obinna's 59th-minute strike ultimately won it for the Hammers, but had it not been for goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who had earlier saved from Obinna, Piquionne and Scott Parker and then kept out substitute Carlton Cole at the death, the margin of victory for the Hammers might have been greater.

Bruce, who fielded nine of the players who started Saturday's 1-1 draw with Arsenal, saw Gyan, Anton Ferdinand and Kieran Richardson all limp off with hamstring injuries.

Meanwhile, Bruce confirmed that the club are in talks with Leeds over a possible loan move to Elland Road for Northern Ireland international full-back George McCartney.

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