Alan Kicks Into Action

ALAN Pardew admitted his Hammers team left Elland Road kicking themselves after a strong performance against Leeds failed to yield any Championship points.

With results going West Ham's way any away points would have been a bonus, but Shaun Derry's late winner ensured Hammers travelled back to East London empty handed.

"We were kicking ourselves after the game," admitted Alan, "because we played well and could have had all three points, let alone one.
"After we'd equalised it looked like there would only be one winner and we were really disappointed with the result.

"It was tough for us in the first-half. The conditions were blustery and they had the elements going in their favour, and there was a big atmosphere in the stadium, which we had to deal with.

"But for all Leeds' possession we didn't feel like they were threatening us too much. After the break they got behind us and scored, but we responded well and played some nice stuff in the second-half.

"Gavin Williams scored with a great strike to equalise and after that we had two or three fantastic chances to win it. We had a couple of efforts that hit the post, and after going so close to taking the lead it was very disappointing to concede a goal late on.

"Results went for us at the weekend, so that made the Leeds result even more disappointing. But it's in the past now, and we can take confidence from what was another very strong performance.

"We'll look to pick ourselves up this week and go into the Preston game positive of putting in another good display."
Pards certainly found it hard to criticise his team's performance, after the Hammers head weathered a lively Leeds start to emerge as the stronger force in the second-half.

"I can't moan about any aspect of our performance against Leeds," he admitted. "It was always going to be a very tough agenda for us at Elland Road. They came into the game off the back of a bad result at Wigan and their fans were right behind them.

"They've got stronger as the season has gone on and in Rob Hulse and Michael Gray, they have two players who have really added strength to their squad.

"Our travelling support was terrific yet again. We had two really tough away games in a week at Gillingham and Leeds, and on both occasions the support we got from the fans was first-class.

"We couldn't have asked for more from them and hopefully we'll reward them back at Upton Park this weekend with another important three points.

"We need to keep the good momentum over the last few weeks going. It wasn't a bad performance at Leeds. We didn't get the result we wanted, but if you keep putting in good performances then results will follow."

Alan Pardew might have added to the squad by the time Hammers take on Preston, his need for cover in defence made even more pressing by the loss of Anton Ferdinand at half-time in the Leeds game with a hamstring injury.

"Losing Anton is a big blow," admitted Pards, "and our defence conceded its first goal in three League games at Leeds.
"Anton's absence will leave a gap and we'll hopefully look at bringing someone in to strengthen the squad this week.