Pards Loving The Buzz

WITH West Ham United going into a busy week in sixth place in the Premier League, Alan Pardew is no doubt a contented man right now.

But while that high five would have seen him sleep well, the happy Hammers boss left Craven Cottage on Saturday evening refusing to get carried away with the Club's dream start to the season.

"We're not looking at the League table too much," smiled Pards following the terrific 2-1 win at Fulham. "All I'd say is that there's a nice little buzz about the place, the staff are enjoying themselves and the lads are happy.

"That's just where we want to be at the moment and I hope that our fans are also enjoying it because everything's going well for us right now.

"We're really chuffed with the performances that we're getting from individuals but we also know that there are some sticky days ahead and we realise that's when the real test will come.

"I've played and managed at Sheffield Wednesday and that's not going to be any easy game on Tuesday night and it'll also be electric against Arsenal next Saturday, so we're all now looking forward to that match too.

"We've said all along that this year's ambition is to finish as high in the division as possible and we're not going to change that goal. We're in a small league of sides that we have to beat and, so far, we're shaping up well amongst that group of teams.

"When we were down in the Championship we consciously bought young players and they've come into the Premier League expressing exuberance. There are a couple of wide London boys here who are enjoying themselves and they're taking that out onto the pitch too.

"We assembled this current side quite quickly during the summer when four new players came straight into the squad but I'm really pleased for the guys who have been with me a bit longer. The likes of Nigel Reo-Coker and Hayden Mullins have done well for us.

"There are a lot of good players in the background, too, and we mustn't forget, for example, that we wouldn't be in the Premiership without Elliott Ward who will get a chance at Hillsborough.

"As a coach and a manager, sometimes you have to take your hat off to the players and our work-rate today was phenomenal," continued Pardew after seeing his East enders follow up their 4-0 victory over Aston Villa with an equally well-deserved win way out west. 

"Following Monday night we were all a bit stiff and horrible in the run-up to the Fulham match and I had concerns over whether we could play at the levels we had achieved against Villa.

"We kept it a little bit tight in the first 20 minutes and then we opened up. I let the team have its head again and it made for a great game."

And after scoring the opener, forcing Cottagers' 'keeper Tony Warner into an own-goal with a blistering shot that crashed back off his right-hand post, having another effort ruled out for offside and also hitting the crossbar, Marlon Harewood could justifiably be satisfied with another telling contribution.

"Marlon's been terrific and we're really, really, pleased with him," continued Pards.

"It was a great finish and I'm sure he'll try to claim the second goal, too! It'll be a bit harsh if that one's taken away from him.

"Ever since Marlon's been at West Ham he's shown great subtlety with his skill and ability.

"At times, he can be a bit rash but he's learned his lesson from our first three games when he had opportunities and didn't take them.

"We had a quick chat after the Bolton Wanderers game - I didn't want to make a big thing of it - and I told him that he needed to take his chances because Bobby Zamora was itching to play.

"Marlon responded and he's kept his place.

"Another striker might have let doubts creep into his mind but Marlon reacted in a totally different manner. He said: 'No, I'm good enough for the Premiership.' He's carried that into his all round game and has been terrific.

"Unfortunately, although he doesn't get carried away or turn lazy, Marlon doesn't always play to his maximum at times. It's just a concentration thing.

"He knows that he needs his concentration levels to be full-on in the Premier League and they certainly have been in these last few games.

"There's too not much to call between him and Bobby and, yes, the arrival of Benni McCarthy would have threatened his position without a shadow of a doubt, just like it would've done to any other player at any other club.

But Benni didn't end up at Upton Park and, perhaps, Marlon has now responded by saying: 'I'll show you.'"