Matt And Alan Take Heart

Matthew Etherington says that, despite the defeat to Spurs on Wednesday, the players can reflect on a lot of positives from the match - and Alan Pardew agrees.

"We did all right, played quite well, and the lads were disappointed - but we can take a lot from the game," he insists.

"We did ourselves justice although it is disappointing that we lost, but we can go on to Saturday now and hopefully get three points.

"J had a good chance towards the end and we had a few goalmouth scrambles - but it wasn't our night, it wasn't to be, though I am sure we will get our fair share of luck as the season goes on.

"It was disappointing but I thought we played well and dictated the game in the second half - we had our chances but it just wasn't our night."

Matthew got a little bit of stick going back to his old club for the first time, and he says:

"It was always going to be that way and I had a little smile but I was happy enough in how it went, up against probably one of the best full backs in the Premier League in Steve Carr."

As for whether David Pleat takes the job at White Hart Lane permanently, he adds:

"His record is not bad and I can't see why not; I know David quite well from when I was there, he is a nice bloke, and I hope he gets the job."

But his only real concern is with West Ham, and he adds:

"We need to get back in the Premiership; that is the number one objective."

Matthew played on both flanks in the game and he says:

"I started on the right, and it was something the gaffer worked on with J on the left.

"But it didn't really work to be honest so we went back to 4-4-2, looked a lot more solid, and it went all right.

"I think the gaffer likes to play that way sometimes, four and five with the one up and if he wants me to play there I will play there.

"I was a bit uncomfortable to be honest - but I have to work on that."

But Matthew stresses that he has no problems with being used in different formations and adds:

"He is not afraid to change things and that is good - he has a lot of experience tactically and that can only help the side."

Alan Pardew is also keen to draw positives from the game and he adds:

"You couldn't fault the boys for effort; we lost Robbie Stockdale early which was a blow and meant we had an even younger back four.

"We coped admirably, I thought, and Matthew Kilgallon did himself justice - and young Anton came in and did very well."

Although Bobby Zamora got round Anton for the goal, Alan is certainly not apportioning blame to him, and he explains:

"Anton will learn and I don't need to highlight errors; all I am here to do is to make sure this team wins enough games to get promoted.

"I have to make sure that all those young boys, when they come in, play to their maximum, and they did that.

"We all make mistakes but we are learning quickly and there is good spirit in there."

Indded, Alan insists that West Ham could have won, and he adds:

"The senior boys such as Don Hutchison, Michael Carrick, and Rob Lee all feel a bit aggrieved that we haven't won the game because we put in a lot of effort in and came out with nothing.

"We are in a really tough run of games at the moment and there are a lot more to come with the walking wounded that we have to patch up - and now we have an even bigger game against Coventry."

Of the alleged crowd trouble before the game, Alan says:

"It did filter through to the bus that there had been trouble but you don't want the game to be remembered for that.

"It didn't change our outlook but it is just sad when those sort of things happen because we have all got friends at the game.

"But, inside the stadium, there was a great atmosphere and some cracking action for a 0-0.

"I thought we won the first series of tackles and stamped our authority on the game which was nice to see and there was some good passing - but we have to address the fact that we are not scoring enough goals.

"There was plenty of effort at Spurs though we lacked a bit of quality at times, certainly in terms of the Premiership - but we will get better."

And, as he assesses the changes he has made in his 10 days in charge, he adds:

"You don't know how instantly the things you put in place are going to work but I don't just look at the first team, I look at the club as a whole - and the bottom line is I want to create a winning culture."

Meanwhile, the upcoming game with Stoke City, originally scheduled for Saturday, 15th November, will now be played on Tuesday, 9th December.

It has been rearranged due to international call-ups.