Alan Positive About The Pair

Alan Pardew insists that Jermain Defoe and David Connolly do not have a problem with each other - and is delighted to be working with the pair.

He dismisses the notion that they do not work as a pair, having tackled the subject with the two players on his first day at West Ham.

"I was here on Saturday and I am not ignoring the fact that people do worry about that and they want to know the answers," he says.

"So I actually asked them if there was a problem and both assured me there wasn't; I think there is naivety in Jermain's play because he is so young and eager to do well, and sometimes that can be construed as something else if he doesn't pass to David, or whatever.

"David is experienced enough to know that you can't work without your partner; I think most of it is Jermain's enthusiasm to do well for West Ham.

"But I think Jermain has worked really hard even if there are times, particularly at home, when you would be disappointed with his decision making - but if he makes those decisions correctly with the talent he has got he would be playing for Real Madrid!

"He is a fantastic talent and one of my goals would be to make him see the pass, appreciate when he needs to be individual, and when he needs to set people up - you can only learn that from playing and getting experience.

"But I don't see there being a problem; I think the main reason is Jermain's exuberance more than anything.

"He is such an individual that it is hard for him to know when to show his individual flair and when to find the pass.

"When he starts getting that judgment right we are going to be in trouble because we will have a world class player on our hands; we will have to get out of this division to keep him and that will bring its own problems.

"At the moment we have got a raw young player who has got fantastic individual flair which he will have to utilise.

"Sometimes we have to suffer that when he makes a wrong decision."

As for whether he can keep hold of J, he admits:

"I have got to be honest and say it is a worry for me, let alone the fans, because I am the one that has to put the side out every week.

"Of course I am going to do everything I can to keep him; at the moment all I can do in the short term is gain his respect, try to improve him as an individual and as a person - and I intend to do that - and try and get through to him when that pass is important.

"I need to adhere him to the club; the bottom line is the decision will come down to the player and I want to make it very difficult for Jermain to go away from this club.

"The fans, turning up and supporting like they have done, will help.

"I have only been here two days but in that time Jermain has been a model pro, said all the right things, and his body language has looked very, very good.

"I think ultimately if you ask him he wants to get better - and I think I can help him do that.

"I have got to be honest and say I see a lot of similarities with Ian Wright, who I played with - he never passed to me, though, and it did my head in!

"There are the same arguments that were thrown at Ian - that he didn't pass to Mark Bright and didn't bring anyone else into play; but Ian learnt that and Jermain will do the same.

"The bigger problem for me is not them passing to each other - but getting the ball into them, and I think I need to help the team with that.

"It is something we need to improve on, and we also need to score goals from other areas.

"In the top 13 clubs we are the lowest scorers and we need to improve on that - in terms of goals you need to get in the high 70s, or in the 80s, to get promoted.

"But we have a good defensive record, I think we can keep more clean sheets, and we have the best goalkeeper in the world.

"If we defend properly I don't see why we can't keep that record all year.

"There are top quality players here and most players are open-minded and they want to learn, they want to take on information.

"It is like any job, whether you are a glazier or a gas fitter, you want to improve.

"They have been receptive to me and I will do all I can to improve them - but I don't find that daunting."

Alan knows that in Trevor Brooking he has a hard act to follow, and adds:

"Trevor's record isn't bad; against most managers I think my record would stand up but against his it is pretty tough.

"But then again, he hasn't done it for 100 games or whatever!

"But he has been fantastic with me and I thank him for his efforts because it could have been very difficult, carrying the disappointment of relegation.

"He has done really well, kept the spirit high, and kept them all bubbling along - if you'll pardon the pun."

As for his first game in charge, against Nottingham Forest, he adds:

"I don't think we have got personnel to change, to be honest - we are short of staff.

"Kevin Horlock is still out, which is a problem, Pearcey is struggling so he is doubtful - it is not ideal.

"And we are up against one of the top teams in the division although they are in a false position at the moment.

"They are one of my favourite teams in the division."

He admits one of his problems is filling in the space vacated by Niclas Alexandersson's return to Everton after a month on loan, and he says:

"I have got some issues for tomorrow; one of the problems is the loan system when players go back.

"Niclas dropped a bit of a bomb on us after we had arranged to extend his loan because he wanted to go home for personal reasons, and suddenly you have lost a player.

"I had a similar situation at Reading when we took Matthew Upson and I think we had seven wins and clean sheets. "When he went back there was a great big hole to fill.

"The loan system brings its own problems and we can't rely on it - if we going to rely on getting up using loan players it is going to be hard.

"Squads are smaller in the Premiership and they don't want to learn people out, though we would be the first port of call for clubs to loan out young players - but this is West Ham and we have our own young players."

Another task facing Alan is to impress on the players the professional values that he places so highly on being a footballer.

Alan, who had a brief spell as a glazier after his playing career ended, explains:

"I have been in the workplace and I know that this is a lifestyle that is very different from normal life; that has been reflected in things at many clubs in recent weeks.

"The one thing that I do pride myself on is trying to educate the players about what the game is about, and what the responsibilities are that they owe to the fans and their employers.

"I will be making sure of that, and if it is being a 'disciplinarian' then so be it.

"There is a huge responsibility on footballers, and they have got to represent this club in the right manner on and off the pitch - we are lucky enough to have a lot of senior players that do that and that the young players can look up to."