Pards delighted with vital win over Blades

Eggert Magnusson has spent a lifetime in the bakery business. And the new West Ham United chairman certainly saw Hammers' rise to the occasion as they kicked-off his new reign with a welcome win over struggling Sheffield United.

"There was a lot of pressure on us today," revealed the delighted Alan Pardew after seeing his side produce their third Premiership win in five matches, thanks to Hayden Mullins' first-half header.

"Driving to Upton Park, I knew that this was a massive game for us. The new chairman was coming and, quite rightly, there was a lot of hullabaloo, because he's come here and said all the things that we want to hear.

"You can see he's got a genuine enthusiasm for football that you won't ever suppress and I'm going to encourage that and tell him to go and reach for the stars.

"But meanwhile I also knew that, today, Sheffield United would set themselves out to make it extremely difficult for us. They were always going to put the ball into our penalty box and make us defend and if we'd lost, then we'd have been going to face a very good Everton side next weekend in a very difficult position.

"The result was everything and, to be honest, before kick-off even if it had meant that we didn't play well, I'd have taken a 1-0 win with a clean sheet, all day long. No, we weren't in full flow this afternoon but although Sheffield United never gave us any time on the ball, I felt that we competed well and you certainly couldn't fault our commitment out there.

"Hayden Mullins scored from a well-worked set play and that was an important and well-timed goal for us because we were beginning to look a bit nervous and under pressure. Once we scored, though, we just didn't take our chances to get a second goal and we were always going to put ourselves under pressure because of that. I was disappointed that we didn't wrap the game up."

And Pards was equally upset by the reaction of his Argentinean striker to his tactical substitution midway through the second half.

"Carlos Tevez was very good today," he insisted. "But the loss of Danny Gabbidon with a strained hamstring for the final period was a major blow for us and we were left with a physically small side out there.

"The West Ham fans rightly gave Carlos a great reception because his technique is just what they like and his commitment to win the game was there for us all to see today. He was charging around and was very disappointed to come off but he wasn't substituted because he was playing poorly and if we'd been in control of the game, then he certainly would've stayed on the pitch.

"With George McCartney out there already, I brought on Teddy Sheringham and then Marlon Harewood to help us defend set pieces and other bits and bobs. I needed two, tall strikers out there.

"Unfortunately, Carlos went straight home and I'm very disappointed about that because he hasn't given me a chance to explain why I subbed him," continued Pards.

"That's only happened to me once before as a manager and it's disrespectful to my staff, the players and myself. I'll listen to his excuse - I'm sure it's only disappointment - but there's no reason to do that. We won't have that kind of indiscipline here at West Ham United and Carlos has got to give me a big explanation on Monday morning!

"Remember, Javier Mascherano is also desperate to play and, alongside Carlos, his attitude in training - just like our professionalism towards both of them - has been first-class but Hayden has a bit more experience and Premiership power than Javier so he just gets the nod right now. In fact, he was the pick of our players again, today."

Indeed, Mullins could not have found a better way to celebrate the sealing of a new contract in midweek and, now that the season-long takeover speculation has subsided, the Hammers' boss is clearly determined to give the current crop of talent, that has served him so well, every chance to shine under the new regime.

"Chelsea might have come out and said that we have made an enquiry about Shaun Wright-Phillips, which is a bit unusual, but I don't want to talk about the January transfer window," concluded Pards. "Right now, it's all about the players we've already got here because they were the ones who put in a gritty performance in a pressurised situation today.

"This victory was our third in five games and that means things are getting so much better for us now."

by Steve Blowers