West Ham United coach Avram Grant will continue to prioritize English Premier League survival despite reaching the last eight of the FA Cup.
West Ham defeated Championship club Burnley 5-1 in a fifth-round match at Upton Park on Monday to book a quarter-final against Stoke City.
But with the team second from bottom in the league and three points from safety, Grant insists the players’ focus must remain preserving their top-flight status.
“Our target and first priority is the league, but it’s always good to come into the quarter-finals of the cup,” Grant told ESPN.
“We are the Premier League team so normally we need to win these games, but they (Burnley) are difficult because they are playing well and tactically they are very good.”
“But we played well in the second half and it was difficult for them.”
Thomas Hitzlsperger opened the scoring 22 minutes into his West Ham debut.
The 28-year-old midfielder has been sidelined with a thigh injury since August and was relieved to finally make a positive contribution.
“I didn’t know what to expect after such a long time out,” Hitzlsperger said.
“The manager was speaking to me before the game about whether I would play 30 minutes or start, but I’m delighted to start with a goal and an important win for us.”
“They played well at stages but it was good timing for the goal and the fact I scored, it came together on a special day for me.”
“It’s been a tough time but I’ve been looking forward to this day and it was fantastic.”
Burnley boss Eddie Howe felt his team were undone by West Ham’s superior speed in attack.
“I thought it could have been very different,” Howe said.
“In the first half we had our moments, we had our chances and could have scored more than one.”
“West Ham are dangerous up front with the pace they have and they caught us a couple of times.”