Pards: No Excuses

The Upton Park crowd turned up in their numbers for the third time in eight days.

And following last Sunday's draw against Aston Villa and Thursday night's defeat at the hands of Palermo, there was to be yet more disappointment as Newcastle United returned to Tyneside with all three points.

"I don't want to use any excuse to the paying public for the performance that we put in today," insisted an honest Alan Pardew after second-half goals by Damien Duff and Obafemi Martins gave returning Glenn Roeder a 2-0 victory. "We're just not having too much good fortune and things aren't going our way at the moment, but there can be no disguising the fact that this was a sub-par performance from us.

"We've been well-supported for all three games but while we've been competitive, we haven't given our fans a real stirring, showboating West Ham United performance and that's a big disappointment for me.

"I don't know whether it was the after-effect of the Palermo tie but, in terms of our sharpness and liveliness, that was not really what I was expecting from my team."

Certainly, it will not be lost on the club's detractors that Hammers have yet to win since Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano arrived in town.

And although the Argentinian artists started their second successive match, both finished the game on the bench,

"Tevez wasn't injured," revealed Pards after seeing his World Cup striker rattle the bar early on, before replacing him with Marlon Harewood during the interval. "I felt he showed 'moments' for us but, in the end, we ran out of options with him and I tried to change it.

"Carlos took it well, but I haven't had too many chances to work with him and he hasn't played a lot of football, either. Alongside Javier Mascherano, I thought they both looked a little bit tired today but those two weren't the only players who looked leggy out there.

"I'll have to analyse our last three games but I don't want to focus on the arrival of the Argentinian guys too much. Yes, there have obviously been changes to the spirit and the squad and whenever that happens to our group, we always need to re-focus to make sure that it doesn't affect us.

"Overall, I think that we've handled the situation well but we can't get away from the fact that we're going through a transitional period following the arrival of the new boys and if you were to put me under a lie-detector test, I probably would have a problem giving you my best team, right now.

"Over the next few weeks, though, it'll evolve and once we get into our groove we'll see what our best team is. After all, no manager can name his best eleven when new players first arrive and, at the moment, I can't guarantee anyone a first-team place, especially after that performance!

"We need to get back the West Ham United spirit and vigour that we're renowned for and if we had got the first goal today then maybe it would've given us all a lift.

"As it happened, Damien Duff's opener changed the game and we didn't respond to it very well. We should've have dealt with the ball in the early phase and then another mistake - which was very unlike Danny Gabbidon - gifted them their second goal."

Now as Pards prepares to lift his tired troops ahead of Saturday's trip to Manchester City, the West Ham United squad can expect an intensive few days of preparation and education on the Chadwell Heath training campus.

"We need to work very hard this week," concluded the determined Hammers' boss. "I've told the players that we just can't afford to lose what we're about - the speed, the spirit and the togetherness - because we need to pass and attack quickly but, right now, we look apprehensive as a team.

"As a squad, we've got to cut out the grey areas with the new guys, who are not too familiar with what we're doing and we need to get back to black and white so that everyone knows their role. Only then can we start relying on individual talent and flair."