Sam Allardyce was brimming with pride after West Ham United started the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League campaign with a 2-0 home win over Cardiff City.
The Hammers defeated the Championship title winners for the fourth match in succession thanks to a goal in either half from Joe Cole and Kevin Nolan.
After bossing a first half highlighted by Cole's smartly taken turn and finish on 13 minutes, Big Sam's side weathered a spell of Cardiff pressure before making the game safe through Nolan's first-time shot 14 minutes from full-time. Speaking to West Ham TV, the manager was rightly happy with his team's strong start to the new campaign.
"It is a fantastic start, was great entertainment from the fans and a really positive display by ourselves," said Big Sam. "In a game of football over 90 minutes we do many things but the one thing we did do was dominate the game, dominate possession and create chances.
"I was delighted with Joe's goal but then Joe told me at the end of the game that he should have had a hat-trick before half-time! I wasn't really going to bring that up because we had done enough and we won the game. We may talk about it later in the week, but it shows you his disappointment. He said two of his easier chances were a header on the far post from a cross from Jarvis and when he went one-on-one with the 'keeper and he made the wrong decision by trying to chip him.
"We were probably a little disappointed it was only 1-0 at half-time, then we had to work it out because Cardiff changed the way they played. Then we lost a little bit of control in the second half, but defended the way we know we can without the opposition creating any chances in that spell.
"Then, of course, we started playing out on the break a bit more and we came up with a quality second goal. The ball into Maiga from Mark Noble and he controls it, back into Stewart Downing, to Noble to Nolan and he puts it into the back of the net as we all know he can do. That's him one in one again and he got five in ten at the start of last season.
"It was excellent and just what we were looking for and at the defensive end we were so good, Cardiff only had one shot on goal in the entire 90 minutes."
The manager said Saturday's display was the result of a pre-season that saw his side not only play some great football, but also escape without suffering any major injuries whatsoever.
"I'm often pessimistic that a decent pre-season can have an adverse effect on you, because that's what you do as a manager, worry about everything," he explained, with half a smile on his face.
"Last season was horrendous. We got turned over in Germany and at Ipswich and looked a million miles away from the Premier League. The lads were scared that they were going to start the season and not be able to cope, but we started with 14 points from the first eight games.
"This pre-season has been excellent. We have had no injuries and the players are 100 per cent fit physically and mentally, which meant that with the abilities they have got, the capability to beat Cardiff.
"If our fitness had been worse than Cardiff's, it would have been a struggle because we'd have faded away and they might have got back in the game, but that didn't happen and our technical ability was far better than theirs', and hence we won the game 2-0 comfortably."
Big Sam ended by praising the contribution of Modibo Maiga, who made his first Barclays Premier League start since Tottenham Hotspur away on 25 November 2012.
Maiga worked hard, led the line well, held the ball up and put the Cardiff back four under pressure in the absence of the injured Andy Carroll.
"I've got to give a special mention to Modibo because I don't want the West Ham fans going away thinking he hasn't made a massive contribution.
"While it wasn't flair in the same way Jarvis, Cole and Downing produced, he held the ball up, led the line and put the centre-backs under pressure and played a part in the second goal.
"He's shown a bit of what he can do and why we bought him from Sochaux last year. It was a very difficult season for him last year and a difficult transition but he's had a full pre-season with us and has started every game up front and that fitness level he has got to has started to show us the ability he has got."