Credit Where It's Due

Alan Pardew says there should be recognition for what West Ham did in reaching the play-off final, after what he admits was a "traumatic" year - and insists the players have learned from the experience.

"You can't take away the fact that it was an achievement to get there," he stresses.

"You have to remember all the work that was put in - even if there was no reward for it.

"Sometimes in life, for all your efforts, you don't get a reward at the end of it.

"But that doesn't mean you have not gained some sort of success; you have to look to that success and build on it."

Next season starts, of course, with a clean slate, with it being Alan's first full campaign in charge, and he is looking forward to it immensely.

"We can put all our things into place, and we will be able to gauge the players better as the season progresses because we will have our test results on the fitness side of things.

"On the mental side, we have gone through a really traumatic season together and come through some really tough games.

"We have come out the other side of it - and we will be better for it, especially the younger players."

Alan feels that even those who did not play at Cardiff have taken positives from being there and explains:

"Chris Cohen and Mark Noble were part of that process of the final, and they will have gained from that, as will Reo-Coker, Bobby Zamora, and everyone else.

"We will all be stronger for it - that is the good news.

"The most important thing for us is that we start well next season and become the team that everyone wants us to be - because we are the best - and that is what we aim to be."