Pards Vows To Turn Hurt Into Heart

ALAN Pardew admitted that there was no defending his team's performance as they went down 3-1 to Reading at the Madjeski Stadium.

But Pards insisted that he'll make the defeat hurt amongst his squad and ensure that they show far more character on Tuesday night, when the Hammers take on Cewe Alexandra.

"We're not going to make excuses for our display at Reading," he said. "They were the better team on the day and well deserved the three points.

"Conceding two goals from set-plays early on put us on the back foot and we never recovered from that.

"The atmosphere inside the stadium was buoyant and hostile, and the Reading fans had someone on the touchline to use as a target.

"But we knew the atmosphere was going to be like that, it wasn't a surprise, and we can't use that as an excuse. We didn't show enough character, and that's exactly what we're going to need between now and the end of the season.

"Put simply we just didn't defend well enough at set-plays and after going 2-0 down we struggled to get back into the game."

Defeat to Reading was Hammers third in consecutive games, a run which came off the back of three successive wins. The dramatic change in form underlines the inconsistencies of West Ham's season.

"Losing to Reading cost us three points and until the end of the season we won't know how costly those three points were," he said. "However disappointing it's just one defeat.

"But the most frustrating aspect is that we've lost three games on the spin having won three. That's symptomatic of our season so far.

"Of course, at this stage of the season there's going to be pressure. But we have to accept the pressure and learn how to play under it. Now we've got a vitally important game against Crewe and we've got to respond in the right way."

Although it was a bumper day for the Reading fans, it was the 4,000 travelling Hammers contingent that stole the show, shaking the Madjeski Stadium with their noisy and relentless support. Pards was quick to praise the West Ham faithful.

"Yet again our fans were brilliant," he said. "It would have been easy for them to give up and start getting disgruntled. But they supported us unerringly right to the final whistle and I'd like to thank them for their brilliant support for the Club.

"In the dressing room afterwards I said to the players that they hadn't let me down nearly as much as they'd let themselves, and more importantly, the fans down.

"Wearing the West Ham United badge is a massive responsibility and our players didn't rise to that against Reading.

"That has got to hurt, and I'm going to make sure it hurts between now and Tuesday night when we need to go out and hit back with a performance that the supporters will be proud of."