Yossi's Praise For Pards

MIDFIELD play-maker Yossi Benayoun has praised manager Alan Pardew for giving him the confidence to take the Premier League by storm since arriving from Racing Santander in the summer.

The 25-year-old Israeli star has caught the eye as Hammers have risen to fifth place in the Premier League after their opening six games.

He said: "The manager has given me a lot of confidence so I can play without pressure.

"I am enjoying every moment of it at West Ham. The supporters are great and the players are all good guys with a good spirit for the team."

Yossi is finding the competitive edge in the Premier League to his liking. After spending three years in Spain the slightly built midfielder is relishing the rough and tumble approach of the Premiership.

"The football is more agressive here and I enjoy that more," he added in the Evening Standard. "Against Arsenal there were no goals, but it was a good game and it must have been entertaining for both sets of supporters.

"It was the first time I had played against Arsenal, but I knew a lot about them from watching and studying Premier League football. They are one of the best clubs in Europe, so the draw was a good result for us.

"They were missing a few of their best players, but still the point will give us confidence going into our next match with Sunderland on Saturday.

"A lot of people have talked about my size and when I first joined the Club they said that I wouldn't be strong enough for the English league.

"But I go in for every tackle and as the fans have seen, I can win headers as well."

Yossi also thought Hammers had a case for two penalties against the Gunners. The first was for a tackle on the former Hapoel Beer Sheva and Maccabi Haifa star, when he lured Robin Van Persie into a wild lunge inside the box.

Then Hammers had a great shout when a long throw by the Israeli player caused havoc in the Arsenal penalty area and Cesc Fabregas appeared to handle the ball.

Neither were given, as Yossi and his team-mates were left to ponder what might have been.

"I thought the handball was a penalty," he admitted. "As for the trip on me, you don't seem to get those decisions in the Premiership.

"In Spain, if the other player touches you just a little bit the referee normally gives a foul, but here it is different.

"Still the draw was a good result and we are looking forward to the game against Sunderland."