Pards declares statement of intent

West Ham United may be just 90 minutes away from the FA Cup final and a guaranteed UEFA Cup spot but Alan Pardew insists that there is still a route to Europe via the Premiership.

"As a squad we are determined to make a statement of intent by finishing as high in the Premier League as we possibly can," insisted the Hammers' boss following our 1-0 victory over Manchester City at Upton Park, that sent us up into seventh spot.

"After all, that was our aim at the beginning of the season. This was a very important win over a City side who deserve great credit for putting in an equally great performance.

"But I'd like to think that we have answered our critics who are saying that we're concentrating on the FA Cup and are only turning up for our league games because that's been hurtful for me and my young players recently.

"We may have had one or two key players missing today but I was really pleased with the way that the squad came through for me.

"James Collins and Shaun Newton - who took his goal really well - were terrific, while Bobby Zamora was influential and Jimmy Walker was outstanding.

"I've always admired him as a goalkeeper - remember, he was a big factor in our promotion last year - and I'd say that he is putting Shaka Hislop under pressure for a semi-final place next Sunday.

"Our win was down to my goalkeeper and our defence and although we were loose in possession and not great technically, our diligence showed through in the end," added Pards, looking forward to Monday's FA Cup semi-final dress rehearsal at Middlesbrough.

"This win has put us back into contention for a UEFA Cup place and now our match up at the Riverside is a massive game for us.

"We want to win that UEFA Cup spot through our league position and if we can get a victory at Boro, it will really put pressure on the teams below us.

"Although I'll be making one or two changes, there really won't be four or five switches. We are going to play our strongest team up there because this is an important week for us in both the Premiership and the FA Cup."