Alan Feeling Pain

Alan Pardew admits that he is still deeply feeling the pain of his first defeat as West Ham manager.

"I am still hurting inside," he says, "and I am sure everybody is, having had to suffer that against the team that are probably our fiercest rivals in terms of getting out.

"Goals change games and at 3-0 we had a fantastic chance to make it four and we were looking like world beaters.

"But we let in a really sloppy goal and from that moment really we didn't look quite as assured and then everything fell into place against us which was obviously not what we wanted.

"Both teams had very good defensive records and the goals were quite extraordinary; we are disappointed about the goals against us and so we should be too.

"Ultimately we have done enough to win that game and the goals that were conceded for whatever reason were not good enough.

"I wouldn't say it was a lack of confidence; in the first period of the game everything was terrific and we seemed to be going along really smoothly.

"Then we started to get carried away with ourselves; I wouldn't call it showboating but we got a knockback with a goal that should have been avoided.

"But I still think we were comfortable and then we made a bad error to concede the second before half time and then obviously the sending off changed the game.

"My view was that the first booking for Jermain was particularly harsh and he didn't even look for the penalty; his legs just went.

"For the sending off, I think Jermain is slightly late, to be honest, but he made a genuine attempt to get the ball and the reaction of the player was not helpful because I didn't think he caught him.

"He can count himself unlucky; his challenge was fast and quick but he has suffered from professionalism in the game.

"Even at 3-2 with 10 men I expected to see much better than I did in the second half; my big problem was that throughout the team I am looking for a bit of leadership and character to be shown.

"But we were cheap in possession, didn't roll our sleeves up as a team, and didn't dig in - when we could have seen that game out in the position we were in, even with 10 men.

"The second half was something I have not experienced before and I shan't forget this day which started so well; we were making the right statements at the start of the game, taking a 3-0 lead against the team that are favourites to win this league and then throwing it away - that is going to live in the memory for a long time, and certainly the players because I am not going to let them forget it.

"Everyone keeps throwing names at me as if we need to bring in this one that one but there are players here that are paid good money and I expect better than them.

"I don't care what the team needs; with the players we have got here, Premiership players, I expect a lot better than what I saw on Saturday.

"On a positive note, if there is one, it was the first period when we had had the chance to work hard all week without a game and I thought we saw the fruition of that."

Alan insists the gap to the summit is not insurmountable and adds:

"It leaves us seven points shy of the top which is nothing to be too concerned about because we can make the ground up - but we aren't going to make it up with a performance like the second half."

He does feel, though, that the hangover from relegation is still there, and adds:

"This team has suffered a relegation last year and there were some signs of players who have been in a relegated side - and we have to eradicate that.

"I think the whole defensive side of our game, from being strong all year, was very poor; we gifted them two goals and for the own goal Hughesy kicked him from behind - but the damage was done with the first two goals.

"You look at the players we had in this team and the culture at this club of keeping the ball, that is all we needed to do to see that period out, and we didn't do it."

Alan says he is learning fast and explains:

"I think my role is to take this club forward both as a team and as a club; I am viewing things and seeing things in every game and I am noting the weaknesses and strengths of every player.

"There were more weaknesses than strengths on Saturday.

"Being relegated from the Premiership when you said it couldn't happen to this club was a hell of a blow to the staff and the players - and this blow we have had will be a test of character and we need to bounce back.

"The one thing I will guarantee the fans is that I won't get my head down - I am ready to work and I expect the players to be as well.

"We have to live with this and although we haven't got a game coming up - and whether I wish we did or not, it is not there - I will make sure we live with this for the rest of the season."