Alan Ups The Tempo

ALAN Pardew was delighted with the manner in which his Hammers side set-about dismantling the resistance of Plymouth Argyle this weekend, and will be looking for more of the same when West Ham United visit Gillingham on Tuesday evening.

"It was a really good day for us," said Alan of the 5-0 victory that took the Hammers back into the Play-off places. "I was delighted with the way we played, but also our attitude during the build up to the game.

"Less than a week earlier we had gone out of the FA Cup on penalties and we had to lift ourselves after that. But the players showed tremendous character to overcome that set-back and put on a really good display for the fans.

"Now we need to build on that when we take on Gillingham tomorrow. It's going to be a very tough game, but we need another win to consolidate our position in the Play-off places."

The early goal, scored by Marlon Harewood from the penalty spot after only 10 minutes, certainly eased West Ham into their stride, and Pards admitted that it helped to relax his side after a couple of difficult weeks.

"I thought the early goal was pivotal," he confessed. "It lifted the tension and apprehension from our game, which had been evident for a few weeks.

"Before the game we talked about ways to up the tempo, particularly at home, and get off to a good start.

"We played with a lot more freedom against Plymouth and consequently there was far more consistency in our performance.

"Once the second goal went in the whole atmosphere relaxed and we were able to start passing the ball around and making it difficult for Plymouth.

"We were forced to bring on three substitutes because of injuries to Sergei Rebrov, Hayden Mullins and Mark Noble, but they fitted in well and despite the changes the team still looked comfortable.

"The defence had another solid game. Anton Ferdinand was excellent again, and I think he's put in three really outstanding performances for us. Stephen Bywater also made some top quality saves in the second-half and that really helped the team to stay solid."

The game represented something of an epiphany for both Harewood and Teddy Sheringham, who top and tailed the goalscoring with a penalty a piece to banish memories of Bramall Lane.

"They seem to work on a scenario where they take penalties alternately," added Pards. "I think that works well because in my opinion the person who wants the penalty most should take it, because they are probably going to be the more confident.

"It was certainly good to see Teddy score from the spot. Last Monday we had a small practice match and there was a penalty that Teddy dispatched with a bit of venom. It looked like there was some of that in the second one he took against Plymouth."

Looking ahead to Tuesday's trip to Gillingham, Alan Pardew knows that another win would be a vital boost for the Club's promotion hopes. However, the Hammers boss is keen for his team not to get ahead of themselves, and instead focus on achieving one win at a time.

"I'm a firm believer in that if you keep doing the right things then you'll get the rewards," he said.

"We've had to face criticism in recent weeks, some of it justified, but we've kept working, kept preparing ourselves in the right way, and it came good for us against Plymouth.

"Now we'll go and approach the Gillingham game in the normal way and look to put on another strong performance, which will hopefully earn us another three very important points."