Pards: A thin line between success and failure

Alan Pardew had words of encouragement for his players after their UEFA Cup dream ended on Thursday evening with a brave but ultimately unsuccessful display in Palermo.

The Hammers boss held his head up high as he addressed the media after the 3-0 first round, second leg defeat at the Renzo Barbera stadium that sealed a 4-0 aggregate scoreline against the Serie A high-flyers, and admitted that his team had suffered from the extremely thin dividing line between success and failure in Europe.

"We focused on the first game," said Pards, "and genuinely felt that we were more than a match for Palermo - the stats proved that - but we didn't really get a break in the first leg and the same thing happened tonight.

"We've seen an outstanding performance from their goalkeeper - you have to say that - and if a team is on the kind of run that we are at the moment, you need a break in front of goal.

"I just felt in the second half we had to chase the game a little bit and that led to Danny Gabbidon making an error for the killer second goal. Danny was big enough to admit his mistake, but that was the turning point.

"Up until then, I think anyone who got the mood of the game tonight would know that, if we had got the first goal, it really would have been game on. I looked at their bench when the second goal went in and saw a big sense of relief, because we were more than in the tie up until then.

"I must add, I thought there was a difference between the two sides. Palermo are a very, very good team, make no mistake. Although they had less chances and possession than us, they maximised their opportunities.

"I looked at them and there wasn't really a weak link that we could exploit, which made it difficult. In terms of the team performance, though, goals obviously change games, and we needed one desperately.

"Even at 1-0 down, a goal from us would have changed the tie dramatically, but I wish Palermo well and I think they have got a very good chance of progressing in this competition."