Pardew's pride after display to remember

Alan Pardew had nothing but praise and admiration for his players after they produced one of the most memorable performances in West Ham United's modern-day history to come within a whisker of lifting the FA Cup.

The Hammers boss admitted a sense of disappointment after his side lost in a penalty shoot-out to Liverpool after seeing their 3-2 lead wiped out by Steven Gerrard's wonder-goal in the final minute of normal time, but managed to ensure that pride was the overriding sentiment as he reflected on one of the greatest finals in the competition's 125-year history.

"Obviously I'm very disappointed with the outcome of the game," said Pards, "but nothing can hide the pride and respect I have for my players after the way they have represented West Ham United today.

"It was an effort by the team very much in line with what we've been about all year. Liverpool are a team packed with internationals, with players who have won medals and have huge reputations, but we put all that to one side, got about them, and almost pulled it off.

"It would have been a fantastic achievement if we'd won it, because it really would have put the seal on what has been a memorable season for the Club. I told the players that they had been a part of perhaps one of the greatest finals ever, that they could take great dignity and pride in their performance and that the first trophy is always the most difficult to win.

"I was in a similar situation with Crystal Palace in 1990 - when we came within eight minutes of winning it. Today it was three, and so the feeling of disappointment is something I've known before.

"To be honest, I felt comfortable towards the end. We were defending quite well, they weren't creating too many chances, but then a special player pops up and produces a special moment.

"When you play teams of the quality of Liverpool, the unexpected can often happen. But we still picked ourselves up in extra-time, and then we had that amazing moment in the final minute, when Reina produced a fantastic save and the ball fell to Marlon, who was unfortunately on one leg at the end!

"It was a great game, we are all aware of that, but it was also a fantastic spectacle for English football. Our game has been criticised in the past, but the two sets of fans were absolutely first class and it really was an occasion that will live long in the memory.

"I'm not going to say who deserved to win, because that would be unfair on Liverpool. Maybe we both deserved a victory and, in terms of plaudits and the recognition we gained - we won aswell today…"