ALAN Pardew admitted that on another day his Hammers side might have come away with more than the undeserved 2-1 defeat they suffered at the hands of Bolton Wanderers.
Bolton gave a typically dogged display, but Pards and his team were left to rue a host of missed chances in the first-half as Hammers dominated their more experienced visitors in the opening 45 minutes.
"I couldn't be too harsh on the team after the performance we put in," he confessed. "On another day we could have come away with a lot more and there were still plenty of positives I could take from the way we applied ourselves.
"They are a really good side and we knew that it was going to be a massive test for us. But I thought we played really well at times and certainly had our chances."
Bolton are renowned for their threat at set-plays and it was from a corner that Kevin Nolan opened the scoring in the 59th minute.
"We knew that Bolton would test our character and strength at set-pieces," added Alan. "We coped well for most of the game, but it was from a set-piece that the first goal came, and that first goal was always going to be crucial.
"We had two or three chances in the first-half to take the lead that we didn't take. If we could have scored then it would have really helped us, because we are quick on the break and it would have forced Bolton to come onto us.
"But they got the first goal, we had to really push to get back in it, and they caught us on the break for the second. That was a shame, because I thought 2-0 flattered them at the time."
However, there was much in the game to give Pards heart and after three Premier League games four points is still a credible return.
"There was lots to be positive about," he assured. "Anton Ferdinand had another terrific game, Paul Konchesky was excellent and Yossi Benayoun is really improving.
"Jeremie Aliadiere came off the bench for us and went on the right-hand side. That's not his natural position, but I thought he still did really well showing plenty of pace and power.
"We looked to pack the bench with plenty of physical specimens because that's what we felt the game would demand. It would have been nice to bring those guys on when we had the lead, but as it was Jeremie was introduced when we were 1-0 down.
"He approached the game in the right way and when he came on he certainly gave us another outlet on the right. He did a really good job and I think you can see that with his technical ability he will fit really well into the squad.
"There is lots to give us encouragement, but we're just a little disappointed that we didn't come away with something from the game because we felt our overall performance deserved it.
"This is the level we are at now. Those chances have to go in, because as it proved they were the best chances we had in the game.
"But the game was really even throughout and the real positive we can take from it is that we were competitive again against a very strong side.
"It's a credit to us that we made Bolton play at their maximum, and I've said to the players that will be key this season. We have to make teams play at their best to beat us and that's what we did on Saturday.
"Ultimately we were disappointed to lose, but now we have a two week break where we can sit down reflect on the first three games and put in some good work on the training ground."
Positives For Pards