Five straight defeats, seven-and-a-half hours without a
goal and 16th spot in the Premiership would leave many managers in
utter despair but there is no way that Alan Pardew will be pushing
the panic button just yet.
"We'll probably play a lot worse than that and still win this season," insisted the Hammers' boss after seeing his former club, Reading, batten down the hatches at a rain-lashed Upton Park to claim all three points.
"The guys in the dressing room are just so disappointed and
if there were any question marks about our spirit before today,
then we've certainly answered them.
"I couldn't fault our endeavour and application today and this was a good performance, albeit a bad result.
"Reading are an organised team with good players in good areas and the record of their back four speaks for itself. They defended well when we put them under pressure and they were disciplined, steady and calm. You'd be foolish to bet against them staying up.
"Right now, I feel for my team because looking back on my managerial career, I can't ever remember seeing so many chances going astray in so many matches.
"Experience tells me that will all change, though," continued Pards. "Certainly, Carlos Tevez worked hard and we saw his quality today and, if just one of the chances that he created had gone in, then that would have brought us alive. I was pleased with Carlos and Carlton Cole because they caused problems without getting the breaks.
"And I also thought that Teddy Sheringham and Bobby Zamora gave us a boost when they came on because we suddenly had two fresh strikers up against four tired defenders.
"The performance of Hayden Mullins was a big bonus for us, too. Javier Mascherano had two tough games at Manchester City and Palermo, and we're still trying to adjust his game a little bit to suit the way that we play.
"He's been terrific around us, though, and he took my decision to only make him substitute really well," revealed Pards, who was also full of praise for the loyal Upton Park crowd.
"After seeing our results against Aston Villa, Palermo and
Newcastle United, you could expect the West Ham supporters to give
us a really hard time but they were brilliant throughout the whole
"Our fans can see that we're all really trying to get the result that will get ourselves going. And although it has not been realised since Tevez and Mascherano arrived, I think the fans can see the potential that's here at this football club.
"I've had good experience of pressure at West Ham United and this can be a lonely, horrible job at times but the fans' support for me today was great and they've certainly given me a lift.
"Sure, this result has put us in a bad position in the Premiership and left us fighting and you don't want to find yourself doing that at the start of the season," acknowledged Pards after seeing Reading - by manager Steve Coppell's own admission - play with a 'just hold on mentality' following Ki-Hyeon Seol's match-winning, second-minute strike.
"Right now, we must try and get a settled back four and
some rhythm into our passing, while we also need something to go in
for us, too. Our first three shots all hit their goalkeeper,
whereas Reading's first effort just flew in.
"We've got an international break now, but when we come back, we've got to come out fighting and make sure that we can claw ourselves back up the Premiership.
"John Pantsil, Anton Ferdinand, James Collins and Tyrone Mears could all come back in time for the game at Portsmouth, while George McCartney will soon be able to give me an option as well. Although it looks like Lee Bowyer needs a small groin operation, Dean Ashton will be back around Christmas time, too.
"I'm convinced that we're only going to get stronger and, although it's not being reflected in our current results, we've still got all the makings of a very good team here."