Alan On Deano Debut

Alan Pardew insists that the arrival of Brian Deane is not going to turn West Ham into a long ball side.

Alan is keenly aware of the club's playing traditions, and knows the fans demand continuity in that respect.

Equally, though, he is looking to breed a winning culture and consequently knows that in the first division sometimes there has to be a change in emphasis.

He admits that on Saturday, with the arrival of Brian Deane, there was too much of a temptation to play it long, but he stresses that, contrary to what one newspaper wrote on Monday, he does not 'encourage' the long ball game.

"One of the papers has put that in this morning and it is unfortunate that that sort of stuff is said.

"There are going to be times when Deano is very important to us and we are going to find that out in the remainder of the season.

"If people think we are just going to go through the season with Jermain and David all year they are wrong and the injury to David is a clear indication that we can't - much as I would like to have six if I could.

"I thought he did particularly well in the first half and kind of ran out of steam in the second half as all the players did, really.

"He had obviously had a big cup game himself in the week at Leicester.

"We were disappointed on the day and we have to take that on the chin.

"There were a lot of circumstances but Deano showed he is going to show something to us.

"We certainly lacked a bit of creativity on Saturday but when you lose Hutch and Michael so near to the game it is going to be a blow.

"And it did affect us mentally as well and it was a shame to lose them, especially after they had played so well at Tottenham.

"They were both very influential in that game which was, of course, against a Premier League side.

"To lose them was a blow, and you are going to carry that disappointment into the game.

"You try not to but I think the players missed them, and we certainly did in terms of controlling the game."

Alan hopes there will be some good news about injured quartet Robbie Stockdale, David Connolly, Don and Michael, and adds:

"I think we are hoping we get one or two of those back at least but the players that played at Spurs were also carrying the burden of the efforts on Wednesday night.

"I notice David Pleat was complaining about Spurs' performance at the weekend in the same manner, that they looked a bit leggy.

"You can't get away from that and the players get to such a high standard of fitness these days that just a slight drop in the level from where they should be can be reflected.

"And, obviously, Coventry not playing midweek was an indication of that.

"We still did enough to win the game, I felt, and must have had 12 corners but again the arrival of Deano on Friday and knowing what our team was going to be affected things."

Alan stresses that Brian's arrival at the club will not marginalise Neil Mellor's contribution to the campaign and explains:

"Neil Mellor is here to improve as an individual - and help us get promoted.

"Brian Deane's arrival won't affect that at all; Neil has done very well for us but you can't look to a young player like him to win the league.

"He is learning his trade, but you need a little bit more than that at this level; we are going to need him, though, and he will get his share of games.