Pardew: a fantastic day

  • by Mark Ling
  • Sunday, 29th October 2006

Alan Pardew shares his thought's on today's morale-boosting victory against Blackburn ...

I don’t think I’ve really doubted their commitment – it was that little bit of quality that I felt we lacked in the last few games. It duly arrived from a reliable source really. Yossi’s pass and Teddy’s finish were sublime and it set the tone for a very, very important victory for us today.

Most of us managers are pretty hardened, but I have to say it moved me slightly at the start. It was a nice moment for us and I just have to say that the easy part really is what I do – the hard part is going out on that surface and, under the pressure we were under today, to perform like we did. I thought this run would probably end with a draw, to be honest, so to end it with a victory shows the character of the team.

I was more relieved after the Preston play-off final. I was a lot more relieved than I am tonight. The difference was that the position was that this club was in jeopardy if we didn’t win that: no parachute money, we’d have lost two or three great players, we would have been in the position that maybe Ipswich, Wolves, Leeds, find themselves in – great clubs on a level playing field in a really tough division.

So now, and this is what people have to remember, with the success of last year, we find ourselves with a huge bundle of Sky Premiership TV money, we find ourselves in profit and we find ourselves as the target for a takeover – that’s because we’ve had great success.

So, the Preston victory was much more pressure and much more important than this one.

I try not to worry too much about job security and just focus on the next week and the next game, and I’ve done that ever since I’ve started in this game – I’ve had plenty of speculation about moving me on, in Reading and here before.

I want to stay here, and I just thought it was a fantastic day for West Ham and the enormous pressure we were under, to have the crowd in that mode, when they could have been completely elsewhere, to back us like they did, brings home something that is special, that is unique to clubs like West Ham. There aren’t many of them.

Before the game I’d had so many messages from West Ham fans when I’d been in town and I thought, “I hope it’s like that,” but you’re only hoping, so I was really pleased and it was a great fillip for me and the team.

I have to say that I did feel I might be opening myself up for a bit of trouble with the press – a forty-year-old coming to save the day! But he’s a special character of course, and the trust I have in him is that he takes care of the ball – and I thought the key factor for us, if we were going to win today, was somebody was going to take care of the ball in those forward areas - and he did that.

I thought Mark Hughes’ tactics in the second half defeated Teddy a little bit, because obviously he’s not going to go and close full-backs down and they started to dominate the play – to which we changed it, but up until that point he was very effective.

He has leadership qualities in him that are important to the team: it’s always nice in teams I’ve played in to have a senior player that you can look to, to lean on. I think the squad do lean on him quite heavily, because they’re quite young and inexperienced. He enjoyed the victory today, don’t worry about that, as much as we did.

I wanted to show a bit of faith with Bobby and Marlon – I thought that was my strongest pair. It hasn’t worked at times, but they have both given absolutely everything they could in trying to achieve the success that we demand. But always in the back of my mind is that in a home game, Teddy’s going to influence it and influence it to a great level, which he did today.

The exuberance and the speed of the team returned and sometimes, in uncertain times, which we’ve been in, people lack the ambition to run beyond or to make a moment happen. Those little ingredients are essential to a successful football team and that went out of our game, and it turned at that point and you could almost visually see it start to unfold.

Did I tell the players to be brave? Of course, but it’s easier said than done. It’s easy for me to say that and give them those demands, but they have to perform and the character of everybody today is a credit to West Ham.

The goals? They came at the right time - except for the end one, which was a bad one!

I said to the players, you set up games. We’d set ourselves up for a very nervous day today with the Chesterfield result, so you work and that’s how I’ve always worked. So we’ve set ourselves up nicely for Arsenal; instead of going in and maybe suffering the majority of possession that they’re going to have, we can enjoy it.

We had great results against them last year so go and enjoy Arsenal – our fans are going to be up for it and it’ll be a good game, I think.

I do feel that we’ve still got a considerable amount of battling to do to get up the league. By no means is one victory going to propel us into a team that is comfortable in the Premiership.

We’ve been battling, and we’ve battled well today and showed tremendous bravery.

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