Pards left frustrated after United defeat

An FA Cup semi-final spot and three valuable Premiership points from three tricky trips to the North-West would surely have represented a happy haul, nine days ago. But following last week's valiant victories over Manchester City and Wigan Athletic, Alan Pardew still wanted more.

"I'm greedy and I was hoping for something tonight as well!" confessed the Hammers boss following his side's narrow 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford. "We gave a good, honest account of ourselves against Manchester United and, although the players will still take a lot out of this game, overall, I felt we were a bit lacking.

"My team was up against a world class club with world class players, though, and on the whole we managed to keep them at bay. Tonight, we faced a United team bang in form with all of their offensive players on duty but they never really got a head of steam up and that's unusual for them when they play at home."

Indeed, it was only recalled Ruud Van Nistelrooy's decisive goal in first-half stoppage time that finally proved the difference between the two sides.

"We had already guessed that Van Nistelrooy would play and, overall, my two centre-halves dealt with him very well," observed Pards. "But he used his natural instinct to take his chance when it came. Sometimes, great strikers may only get one opportunity but when it comes they put it away and that's why they're paid huge amounts of money.

"It was disappointing for us, though, because United hadn't really clicked into gear yet they went into half-time with that lead. We'd done the hard work. We started well, managed to keep United quiet and kept calm.

"For our part, we even had a few 'moments' of our own - a couple of shots and a few bits and pieces around the box - but it just never happened for us. When you come to a place like Old Trafford you've got to take those moments but they didn't really come for us tonight and our overall lack of threat was, perhaps, a bit disappointing.

"It just didn't click for us and, at times, you can look ordinary when you're up against world class defenders. But Old Trafford is a daunting place to play for a young team - for many it was their first time here - and they'll learn a lot from tonight's game.

"With the FA Cup semi-final and a league game against Chelsea still to play, we can still take heart because it's a performance that will hold us in good stead," insisted Pards, looking forward to putting more points on the board in Sunday's Upton Park showdown with his former club Charlton Athletic.

"Our home fans deserve a show now. They might have seen us knock Bolton Wanderers out of the FA Cup but their lasting memory at the moment is the 4-2 defeat against Portsmouth and we've got to make sure that we erase that."