Pards: Working On Our Strengths To Succeed

ALAN Pardew has revealed it has been a case of getting back to basics on the training ground ahead of tomorrow's clash against Manchester City.

The Hammers' boss says the next seven days will be a vital period for the club, starting with the visit to the City of Manchester Stadium to face Stuart Pearce's team, before the trip to Palermo on Thursday and finally a home game against Reading on Sunday week.

Speaking today at the club's training ground, Pards said: "We have been working really hard on putting things right, particularly concentrating on what we do well - like playing at pace with crisp passing and movement.

"Teams are coming at us now to attack our strengths and we have to simply step up a gear to get around these issues. People have been saying that some players are suffering from a lack of form, but I don't think that's the case.

"While it was disappointing overall against Newcastle, we showed a bit of what we can do in the first half there and in the second half when we played Aston Villa. We have had what I call a couple of below-par performances but I feel we have not been far away from what we are about. It's about backing that up with a good, solid, 90 minutes and getting the result."

With Manchester City and their manager Stuart Pearce under the spotlight for their poor run of form, Pards feels tomorrow's clash will carry a lot of tension.

He said: "We're coming off the back of the defeats in the Newcastle and Palermo games and Stuart and his team are not having the best times of late.

"In the Premiership if results are not going your way, the pressure starts to mount and it's Stuart's turn at the moment. But he has done a fantastic job at City."

Pards added: "Our point of view is we just have to worry about ourselves and that's what we'll do. We played well up there in the FA Cup last season, that was a fantastic night and there will certainly be a bit of spice added to the game because of it I'm sure."

With the exception of Tyrone Mears, who has a calf strain, James Collins, who has hurt his groin and John Pantsil who is still out with a knee injury, Pards is able to take a strong squad to Manchester. Jonathan Spector, who played a full 90 minutes in the reserves this week, is included.

Pards revealed that it had been good to have a full week with no interruptions on the training pitch, something he feels has benefited Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano, as well as the rest of the team.

He said: "It was really useful because we have been able to integrate the two new players further.

"They have learnt some of the principles I like to lay down about any team I manage.

"Some of the media have said their arrival has caused disruption, but that is not fair on them. They have been a pleasure to work with.

"We already had a very good team and have simply added to that with two quality players. That's brilliant for me and we need a couple of good results to put all that speculation to bed.

"This week has been about analysing and working on how they fit in with what our team has been about, without taking away what we had already, I felt that was really important."

As he makes the final preparations to his team ahead of the City clash, Pards said that having lots of options open to him is something he will take on with relish.

He said: "I've got a lot of options, but it's a nice position to be in. My job is to manage everyone so I can put out the optimum team I have in every game, starting with tomorrow."