Pards confident of European glory

Alan Pardew insists he has every confidence that his team can pull off a morale-boosting victory against Palermo this evening in our UEFA Cup first round, second leg clash.

West Ham United go into tonight's game at the Renzo Barbera stadium facing a 1-0 deficit from the first leg and, after a run of six league and cup matches without a win, the Italians are favourites to hold their lead and progress to the group stages of the competition.

However, the Hammers boss says he saw enough at Upton Park two weeks ago to know that his players have every chance of getting back to winning ways and pulling off a shock result - if they can display the focus and level of performance that served them so well last season.

"This game is still in the balance, there is no doubt about that," says Pards. "Although Palermo are in front, the statistics from the first leg showed that we shaped up well against them and I'm sure it will be the same tonight.

"Our game plan isn't going to alter - we need to attack them and our goal must be to score twice. Hopefully that will be enough to see us through.

He adds: "We need to get back to what we are about. We have to look at the whole group and how the team selection, the balance of the team, individual players, and the staff make sure that we're all focusing on the same result.

"As I sit here I know I'm in a strong position in terms of the squad. It's a very strong squad, with fantastic talent, and we just need to harness it and make sure that we're getting the right results.

"It will be difficult to beat Palermo because we've run into the form team in Serie A - a team on the up.

"They will take a lead into the game and we will have to put in the magnitude of the performance we did against Arsenal last year to get through it. We're capable of that, though.

"We need to put in a performance that shows there is no problem is here because once you get just a couple of defeats the press, media and even the fans and people close to the club could suggest there is disruption. That's not true.

"We've put in a couple of below-par performances - the second half against Newcastle and first half against Villa. Otherwise we've been pretty close as far as I'm concerned. But we need to prove that by getting a result and putting in a top performance tonight."