WEST HAM’S survival problems have deepened with a growing rift between the players and Avram Grant’s No 2.
Zeljko Petrovic was only appointed in July by new boss Grant but virtually the entire first-team squad are unhappy with his training methods and his ‘arrogant’ personality.
An insider said: “I think to a man the players don’t like him. They think he is full of himself for someone with so little experience of football over here.”
The players feel training sessions with Petrovic are too basic and not challenging enough to bring the best out of them as they scrap for survival at the foot of the Premier League table.
West Ham were unbeaten in their seven-match pre-season campaign working under coaches Paul Groves and Kevin Keen.
Petrovic was brought in over their heads by Grant on July 28 – just over two weeks before the season started.
The in-fighting has been largely kept secret until now, although Hammers striker Carlton Cole appeared to make his feelings clear to the unpopular Petrovic when he was substituted in the second half of West Ham’s woeful 3-0 defeat by Liverpool on Saturday.
West Ham have won only one league match this season – a 1-0 victory over Tottenham in September – and are now five points adrift of safety.
The club’s top brass, chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan, plus vice-chair Karren Brady are determined to stick by Grant despite awful results and feeble displays.
They are hoping to bring in even more new coaches to assist Grant in his job of turning around a disastrous run of form and results.
West Ham fans called for Grant’s head at Anfield on Saturday evening, chanting ‘you’re getting sacked in the morning’ to their own manager as the team put up little resistance to trail by three goals at half time.
The insider said: “The place is unhappy from top to bottom. Petrovic is just one of problems in the mix of things.”