Pards Praises Super Sergei

HAMMERS boss Alan Pardew praised the contribution of Ukraine striker Sergei Rebrov, as the 31-year-old former Tottenham Hotspur star slotted home the winning goal in West Ham United's dramatic 3-2 victory over Watford.

Sergei wore an orange wrist-band during the game to show his support for the political opposition to the Ukraine government, after demonstrations were staged over alleged election fraud. And the diminutive striker got his message across in the best possible way, bagging his first League goal for the Hammers in the 58th minute to secure all three points for Alan Pardew¹s side.

"I thought Sergei was excellent," enthused Pards. "He was really inventive, showed some great touches, and worked extremely hard for the team. He tackled back when it was necessary, made a lot of intelligent runs and, of course, scored the winning goal.

"Sergei was terrific against Watford, it was his best game since joining the Club and hopefully there will be many more performances like that one in the future.

"There are obviously a lot of problems back home in the Ukraine, and I asked Sergei on Saturday if he was okay to play. He said that he was desperate to play and send a message to the people back home, and he couldn¹t have sent a better message than scoring the winner."

The Watford game marked Sergei's 13th League appearance for the Hammers this season, but seven of those have come from the bench as the former Ukraine international has struggled to displace Marlon Harewood and Bobby Zamora in the side. Pards admitted that Hammers fans had certainly not seen the best of Sergei this season.

"In training we have seen Sergei for what he is, which is a top-class footballer," explained Alan. "Up until the Watford game he had not transferred that form into matches. I don¹t know whether there was a confidence problem caused by his experiences elsewhere, but all the coaches and players at West Ham knew that sooner or later Sergei would show himself to be an excellent player.

"Now that we have seen what Sergei is capable of it is a really encouraging sign for the future."

Sergei has started most of his games this season on the right-hand side of midfield, and Alan stressed that the player is prepared to fill any position asked of him for the Hammers.

"Sergei just wants to play," insisted Pards. "Certainly his performance could not be faulted in his role up front against Watford. But Sergei is a really diligent player and he¹ll play anywhere for the team.

"He really wants to do well for West Ham United and hopefully he can kick on from here and start to perform like he did against Watford on a more consistent basis."