WHILE disappointed to see his Hammers side go down 2-1 to Manchester United at Upton Park, Hammers boss Alan Pardew remained positive, explaining that his side's performance had underlined their growing confidence at Premier League level.
Hammers took a deserved 1-0 lead into half-time thanks to Marlon Harewood's opener after only 50 seconds.
It was a lead United pegged back in the second-half with goals from Wayne Rooney and John O'Shea, but Pards' men were far from out-classed against their more illustrious opponents.
"Manchester United were at full tilt, and it was difficult for us," explained Pards. "They are an excellent side and they played very well against us. When they do that it is tough to live with them.
"But that is not to say we are a long way from them, because for long periods of the game we competed with them all over the pitch and really took the game to them.
"We got off to a great start with Marlon's goal, but against a team like United holding on for 90 minutes is very tough.
"We have shown, with this performance and others, that we are capable members of the Premier League though.
"They were dominating possession, but we looked set and they were not causing us too many problems."
Pards conceded however that the difference between the two teams had been the undoubted quality of Rooney.
"Perhaps it was fitting Wayne Rooney put in that kind of performance on the day of the tribute to George Best," said Alan.
"Maybe he deserved to wear the number seven shirt today, he was that good."
"No matter what our restrictions were on Rooney, he was unstoppable at times. He was terrific."