Teddy On Top

IF there was any doubt that Teddy Sheringham still belonged in top-flight football it was cast aside at Upton Park against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

The 39-year-old former England star turned in a virtuoso display on his return to the Premier League, his vision and class picking apart a ragged Blackburn side in the second-half as Alan Pardew's team opened the season with a fantastic 3-1 win.

Indeed, it was Sheringham's superbly taken goal just after half-time that got Hammers back on an even keel with Rovers and paved the way for match-winning strikes from Nigel Reo-Coker and Matty Etherington.

Teddy said: "We had a good spell just before half-time and the aim coming out for the second-half was to build on that and make sure we started quickly.

"We did just that, with Yossi Benayoun doing really well to play the ball through and I managed to finish it off. It was a great time to score because the crowd, who were magnificent all game, really got going and we just picked up the momentum.

"It set the ball rolling for the whole of the second-half, where we moved the ball around really well and gave Blackburn a lot of problems.

"It was a competitive game, but we handled ourselves in the right way and won the game with two excellently taken goals.

"It's a great start to the season and has given us something really positive that we can build on."

Teddy combined excellently with debutant Yossi Benayoun, and he was full of praise for the Israeli international who was playing his first game in the Premier League.

"Making your debut in the Premier League is not easy because the pace of the game can come as a bit of shock," he explained. "Yossi was probably a bit surprised in the first 10 minutes, because that was an intense match with a really high tempo.

"But even then he showed some excellent touches in tight situations and in the second-half he really started to get on the ball and show what he can do. He showed really good awareness to set-up two goals and he did very well.

"The same goes for all the players. It was a complete team performance with everyone playing to a high level. For some of the players it was their first game at this level, but they all acquitted themselves well and that is encouraging for the rest of the season.

"Now we face a tough trip to Newcastle this weekend, but we'll go there confident after what was a strong opening performance."