Everton boss David Moyes has hit out at West Ham over the club's treatment of manager Avram Grant as he prepares to put more pressure on his counterpart in the Premier League on Saturday.
Moyes' empathy for Grant
• Anichebe and Coleman sign on
Grant's future has been the subject of intense speculation with the Hammers struggling at the bottom of the Premier League. The former Chelsea and Portsmouth manager was reported to be three games away from the sack in December and last week had to cope with reports the London club were poised to replace him with Martin O'Neill.
Moyes suggested Grant has been treated poorly and, while he accepts all managers must be accountable for poor results, the Everton manager is pleased he works for a low-profile chairman in Bill Kenwright.
Ahead of their Goodison Park showdown, Moyes said: "I wouldn't like to be treated that way - but I wouldn't expect my chairman to treat me that way. I have got a chairman who I think would do things correctly. I don't know what is going on at West Ham, I can only pick up what people put out in the media or through television. Maybe it is a different scenario at the club but I'm just saying I think Bill and the board here do things well.
"Avram got to the Champions League final, he has managed top players, he has managed a team that didn't have any money and got them to the FA Cup final - I think you are talking about someone who has certainly got the attributes as a manager. Not all managers are going to win every year, so that's going to mean some are in the spotlight.
"Unfortunately it has been Avram for most of the year but you can't say he has not handled himself with complete class. Maybe the people around him haven't done that. He has been dignified as a manager but he has also gone about his job and tried to get the best he can. I'm sure it is never easy if you are picking up papers or hearing you are about to go. If I don't win games I'm no different to anyone else but I hope I'd be treated in a fair and dignified manner.''
Everton are just four points above the bottom three but have only lost once in seven league games. They claimed an impressive 2-1 win over Champions League contenders Tottenham on their last home appearance and, after crushing Scunthorpe in the FA Cup, earned a battling draw at Liverpool last week.
Despite improved results since Grant was reported to have been handed a three-game ultimatum - particularly in both domestic cups - West Ham remain in deep trouble. A 5-0 thrashing at Newcastle and a 3-0 reverse at the hands of Arsenal have left Grant's side a point adrift at the foot of the table having played a game more than their rivals.
But Moyes said: "I think West Ham have got some good players and they have got a good manager. West Ham are on a little bit of a run, although they had a bad result at Newcastle a few weeks ago. Overall I think they are going about their job well.''
Everton drew 1-1 with the Hammers at Upton Park on December 28 as Seamus Coleman cancelled out a Tony Hibbert own goal. Irish winger Coleman, 22, gave the club some good news this week as he agreed a new four-and-a-half-year contract. The former Sligo Rovers player signed his previous deal only last May but Moyes was keen to reward him for his outstanding form in establishing himself in the first team this year.
"What Everton do, if players do well, is renew them [contracts] and up their money and look after them,'' said Moyes, who has also tied Victor Anichebe to the club for the same length of time. Seamus deserved that for his performances. The boy's development, the way he has come on, is terrific.''
The deals for Coleman and Anichebe offset some of the disappointment at losing Steven Pienaar to Tottenham. Moyes decided to cash in on the South African playmaker after receiving offers from Spurs and Chelsea rather than lose him on a free transfer when his contract expired in the summer.
Moyes said: "It wasn't a difficult decision because of the finances. I said if we didn't get a decent offer we wouldn't let him go. I told everyone I was quite happy for Steven to see his contract out, he had played quite well in the games for us. I have no problem with Steven at all. When Chelsea made the offer we had had no offer from Tottenham at all. Chelsea actually flushed Tottenham out. The boy chose Tottenham, so good luck to him. We actually got a decent return for someone with six months to go on his contract.''