Galey's Verdict

Tony Gale is backing Alan Pardew to lift the players from Sunday's disappointment at Millwall ahead of the Gillingham game this weekend.

Giving his personal opinion of the 4-1 defeat, Tony says:

"I think it was a bit hard for all of us to take; it would have been hard for the players, Alan and Peter down on the line, and it was especially hard for the fans, obviously, because there is a big rivalry between the clubs.

"It wasn't the best day, really, was it? It is difficult to put it down to one thing but I just felt that we lacked the desire that Millwall had for the game.

"The conditions were difficult; it was windy, the pitch was a bit lively, and it called for a certain kind of football, into your strikers or over the top and really pressing the other team.

"They put pressure on us and we didn't put any kind of pressure on them; they won probably every header and second ball - and they just wanted it a little bit more, I think that is what the problem is, and I don't think anyone can deny that.

"I would not swap teams; I would look at our 11 and say they were better than theirs but if your attitude is not right on the day, and it wasn't, you are going to come unstuck.

"I don't think that will happen again; I had a quick chat with Alan after the game and I think he was as shocked as anyone that the lads didn't really come out of the traps.

"It is largely a young side but you can't say that the likes of Tomas Repka, Christian, Andy Melville, and Jon Harley with Premiership experience fall into that category - those boys were making as many mistakes as the others and not playing the game as it should have been played.

"I just think they got caught cold, didn't realise what kind of a derby this was going to be, and Millwall really steamed into them - which paid dividends."

Regarding the own goal that set Millwall on their way, Tony says:

"That was a little bit unfortunate; the ball was played in behind the back four and in front of the goalie, which is one of the hardest ones to deal with.

"It was a good cross from Ifill and Christian tried to get the inside of his foot on it but just misjudged it on the breeze.

"I was in line with it in the press box and saw it just come off his toe and end up in the corner.

"There was nothing Steve Bywater could have done about it, so it was unfortunate, but I don't think you just look at that, you look at the game as a whole and it wasn't good enough on the day - we didn't have the same desire as the other team.

"The second goal was disappointing and Tomas lost his head and his marker for one; it is happening too often.

"He can be playing well, then that happens, and you can't do it; I saw him playing for Fiorentina and as a man marker he was excellent.

"He needs get back to the basics of his game and expect that there is going to be a little bit of give and take - if a little bit of stick comes your way you have got to take it."

Tony knows that Alan has addressed the situation head on and adds:

"I don't think it will have been a quiet dressing room - I think the lads will have deserved to have been torn into.

"As a player you know when you have let yourself down and I am sure they do know that; whatever Alan said he had every right to say it, and I think it will have been a right rollicking from him to try and stir them up for Saturday's game against Gillingham.

"We got beat there earlier in the season and again, with lesser sides, it is about your attitude.

"I don't think there is any doubt that against Wimbledon and Crewe we played some good football after winning the battles first of all.

"It is a question of attitude and we have got to realise that this division is about scrapping; I believe this is a poor division and I believe that probably West Ham have got the best squad in the division.

"Alan will be looking to get between the ears of the players and I am sure he and Peter Grant are.

"They will be telling them how good they are and that you can't play your football unless you are honest with yourself and your team mates.

"They let themselves down on Sunday - but I expect them to bounce back in the game against Gillingham and hopefully the crowd will give them a chance in the first 10 or 15 minutes, and don't make it difficult for them."

Tony does not believe there will be any incoming transfers ahead of the deadline later in the week, and he adds:

"I listened to Alan's thoughts afterwards and I would be surprised if anything happened now.

"I believe he has got enough to get us into the play-offs and have a great chance of winning them.

"I don't think it is desperation stakes and what often happens with the deadline coming up is that you end up buying players that you get lumbered with for a few seasons because you are desperate.

"I don't think that we are in that situation; we have got some good players there and it is just getting the best out of them.

"I don't think he will rush into the transfer market at this stage."

Tony is pleased that Don Hutchison and Steve Lomas both came through a reserve game midweek, and adds:

"We all know that Steve Lomas' game is all about honesty and commitment so they would have been very good in a game like that - but they weren't there and you have got to get on with it.

"I think people like Hayden who has played in those derbies would have known what it was all about and Hutch certainly wouldn't have been afraid to stick his head in where it mattered.

"It is a big lesson for the rest of the boys and that is what London derbies are all about.

"I thought Jeff Winter refereed the game very well and let a few tackles go.

"That worked for them, they got a few tackles in and we should have realised we could have got a few tackles in but we didn't do it."

Regarding the coverage of the game from the press box - Tony was, incidentally, in there just a few rows down from Millwall fan Bob Crow, the leader of the RMT union - he says:

"It just makes me laugh when Millwall came out and said what bad fans we have got; I think you have to say it was 50-50.

"It never really looked like the West Ham fans were going to get over the hoardings and there were 1,100 police on duty.

"There was goading from both sides and I think they are trying to deflect it from themselves quite a lot lately, Millwall.

"They have got their problems down there - more than most - and Theo Paphitis is doing well to try and curb it.

"But when they try to deflect it on someone else they should realise that they are trying to get their own house in order as well.

"I saw a seat come on to the pitch from somewhere and a hoarding ripped up but I have seen far worse from other fans.

"I think if you looked at the game at Upton Park there was the same kind of thing behind the goal when all their fans rushed down the front so I would say it is 50-50."