Pards pays tribute to players and fans

A relieved and grateful Alan Pardew was full of praise for both his players and the loyal Hammers supporters following the 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers that lifted his side out of the bottom three.

"It was a fantastic day for West Ham United," enthused Pards, after goals from Teddy Sheringham and Hayden Mullins secured victory for the first time since the opening day of the season.

"I never doubted that my team wouldn't give me any commitment today but we also had the crowd backing us in such a positive mode, too. They could've been completely elsewhere but it just shows how special and unique this football club is.

"Before the game I had messages of support from fans and I was hoping, only hoping, that it would be like that here at the stadium today. Most managers are hardened individuals but I was moved when the crowd chanted my name at the start of the game. It was nice moment and a great fillip for both the team and myself.

"The easy part is the bit that I do as manager - the difficult bit is going out there on that surface and performing under the sort of pressure that we were under today," continued Pards, modestly playing down his role in ending an excruciating eight-game losing streak. "I thought that the run would probably come to a finish with a draw but to get a victory just shows the character of my team.

"It's simple for me to demand things but the players have to perform and their character was a credit to West Ham United. The exuberance and speed returned to the team today and, once again, we started to make 'moments' happen.

"After seeing the ingredients that have always been essential to our game disappear in recent weeks, it was great to see them return and visually unfold against Blackburn.

"During those last few matches we've been lacking that extra bit of quality that I've wanted and, thankfully, that duly arrived from a reliable source - Yossi Benayoun's cross enabled Teddy Sheringham to produce a sublime headed finish and that set the tone for a very important victory.

"I felt that I might be opening myself up for a bit of trouble by getting a 40-year-old to come and save the day but Teddy's a special character and I have a lot of trust in him to take care of the ball in the forward areas.

"He did that for me today and was very effective for us. Teddy has leadership qualities that are important for the team and it's nice to have a senior player who you can lean upon. This quite young, inexperienced squad do look towards him.

"Over the past few weeks, I've wanted to show some faith in Bobby Zamora and Marlon Harewood because I felt they were my strongest pairing and although it hasn't worked at times, they've still given me everything in trying to achieve the success that we deserve.

"But it's always been in the back of my mind that Teddy can influence a home game to a great level and, believe me, he enjoyed today's victory!"

Certainly, those three welcome points have taken the heat off the Hammers' boss.

"I always try not to worry about my own position," insisted Pards who, perhaps, did not have the same support away from the confines of Upton Park coming into what was reported in some circles as a win-or-bust 90 minutes.

"Throughout my managerial career I've always made a point of just looking at the next week and the next game. There's been speculation hanging over me both at Reading and West Ham before but as far as I'm concerned, I just want to stay here at Upton Park now.

"Sure, this was a very important victory but, to be honest, I was a lot more relieved after the play-off final victory over Preston North End because this club was in jeopardy going into that game at the Millennium Stadium.

"If we didn't win that one then there was to be no parachute money and we would've lost two or three great players, too. We would've ended up like Ipswich Town or Wolverhampton Wanderers or Leeds United - all great clubs who are now on a level playing field in a really tough division.

"That success in Cardiff meant that we now have a huge bundle of Sky TV money, we're in profit and are the target of a takeover bid."

Now, as he sets about preparing his victorious side for next Sunday's visit of Arsenal, Pards is refusing to take anything for granted. But at least he can look forward to the arrival of Arsene Wenger's fifth-placed Gunners with a renewed spring in his step.

"Obviously, we've still got a tremendous amount of battling to do to climb back up the league," he concluded, looking at a table now showing Hammers in 16th spot. "And although one victory won't propel us up into a comfortable place in the Premiership, we've shown tremendous bravery and it's good that we're now out of the bottom three.

"You set up games for yourselves and although the midweek defeat at Chesterfield left us with a nervous match today, we're now in for a good day against Arsenal - we had two great results against them last year - and we can go away and look forward to enjoying next Sunday."