Glenn Happy And Relieved

Glenn Roeder was pleased with his team's effort and improved match fitness in the 0-0 friendly draw against Swedish champions Djurgardens IF on Thursday evening - and admitted he was just as happy that his depleted squad had picked up no more injuries.

In the second and final game of their four-day trip to Scandinavia, Hammers gave a good account of themselves against a side who are already halfway through their domestic league season and begin their Champions' League campaign against Yugoslav giants Partizan Belgrade next week.

Said Glenn: "They were much tougher opponents than the last two matches, and that was the way we wanted to plan the pre-season schedule.

"We had a good opening game against Bournemouth, who have just come up to the second division, and then a slightly sterner test against Atvidabergs. We did well to win that 5-2, as I know from experience that Swedish first division sides can be very difficult to beat.

"This was a big, big step-up from that level. Djurgardens are a very good team, they play at a high tempo and at times the game was fast and furious. I thought we stood up to be counted and had our moments in the attacking third, but we have to remember that we were away from home, playing against the Swedish champions, who are halfway through their domestic season and have a Champions' League qualifier to look forward to next week.

"I was concerned that our fitness would run out in the final third of the game, and Djurgardens understandably finished stronger. Our boys have done a hell of a lot of fitness work in the last couple of weeks, they have been a credit to themselves with the way they have applied themselves, but for all the fitness work you do, nothing compares to actually playing, because physical fitness and match fitness are two different things.

"That was our third game so far and, although we won the first two and drew this one, I would say this was our best performance so far."

Just as satisfying for the Hammers boss was the fact that no more injuries were sustained ahead of next Tuesday's friendly against Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park. Of the 17 players in the squad for last night's game, just SEVEN could claim to have played more than 10 first team matches for the club.

The departures of Glen Johnson and Trevor Sinclair, followed by injuries to the likes of Michael Carrick, Steve Lomas, Ian Pearce and Don Hutchison meant that Roeder was forced to field all his senior players for 90 minutes against Djurgardens - a situation he hoped he wouldn't have to face this early into the pre-season build-up.

"I would like to be in a position where I don't have to play most players for 90 minutes at the moment, but such is the situation that I only had four substitutes that I could put on," he said.

"The team I put out was the strongest available to me, and it included two players without any previous first team experience. That is West Ham United at the moment, and we have just got to get through it as best we can.

"I was dreading the last 15 minutes, to be honest, because we have got a few players who are susceptible to injuries in the latter stages of a match at this early point in the season and the last thing I need is to lose anyone else just two weeks before the start of the season.

"Don Hutchison had picked up a minor knock in the game on Tuesday, and he didn't play tonight because we'd like him to be fit for the game against Wycombe next week."

However, as he prepared to head back to London, Glenn insisted that the trip across the North Sea had been a success and admitted he wasn't surprised it had been a rewarding experience for his squad.

"Scandinavia is a marvellous place to come for a tour, I've been coming here with clubs for around 25 years and I've never had a poor pre-season trip," he said.

"The Swedes are fantastic people, very hospitable and everything is super clean. You never have any problems with the food or water, and we'd always welcome the opportunity to come back here in the future."