Pards Positive Under Pressure


ALAN Pardew is certainly not the type of manager who hides away when things get tough.

With a reputation built on strong leadership, the Hammers boss has set about lifting the confidence of his players this week following the disappointment of the defeat to Derby.

And Pards is sending plenty of positive signals to his squad ahead of the FA Cup Fourth Round clash against Sheffield United this weekend.

"It's important that, as manager, I'm seen to be staying strong and positive," explained Alan. "Things were subdued at the start of the week and everyone was really disappointed after losing to Derby.

"We've had to lift the players, and it's been important to freshen things up, get a nice balance going in training and really build the positive atmosphere again.

"It's in my character to stay strong. I've had to lift myself this week and make sure I'm in the right frame of mind, so that my players can feed off that.

"I firmly believe the squad we have here is good enough to achieve the ambitions of this Club, and once we get them all back fit we won't be far away from being a really good side.

"Recent results don't reflect the quality of players we have at West Ham United and it's up to us to turn that around. But the lads have been in good heart this week and they're looking forward to Saturday."

The Hammers will have a great opportunity to not only turn things around against Sheffield United on Saturday, but also gain revenge for their 2-0 League defeat at the hands of the Blades recently. Pards is certainly up for the challenge.

"We need a win for our fans," insisted Alan, "and everyone is going to be determined to produce a good performance and get some revenge for what was a poor result against Sheffield United in the Championship.

"Neil Warnock's achieved decent success there and his team's are always highly competitive and difficult to beat.

"They came to Upton Park last time with a game plan that worked very well, but we'll be better armed this time and looking to cause them a lot more problems.

"We're looking to lift the tension that's hung around the team recently, and hopefully the experience of Teddy Sheringham, who will be available again, can help.

"That, combined with the exuberance of the younger players, will hopefully give us the balance we need.

"Immediate results are what we're after right now and the one off atmosphere of a Cup-tie will hopefully spur us on to a victory that will be very important for us with the League programme beginning again against Cardiff the following week."

On a personal level, Pards has faced up to stern criticism in the last week, and the Hammers manager remains unbowed as he continues his relentless pursuit to bring glory back to Upton Park.

"I have to stay positive," he insisted. "If I immersed myself in the criticism and speculation it would become very difficult for me to work.

"I always try and understand the fans' frustration, and I believe that I do. This is a massive Club with rightly high expectations. It is up to me to deliver the success that everyone connected with West Ham United wants, and I'm determined to do that no matter what it takes.

"When I was leaving the Stadium last week there were some positive voices from West Ham fans. That gives me great strength and I'd like to thank those fans and reward them with the success they so desperately want."