Manager on Monday

Scott Parker's welcome weekend winner was surely the clearest signal yet there is some refreshing light at the end of the tunnel for the three-times capped England midfielder.

Having paid Newcastle United a close-season £7m to bring his former Charlton Athletic starlet to the Boleyn Ground, Alan Curbishley could not be happier to see his No8 taking full control of the Hammers midfield. "Scott's been very frustrated since he arrived at the club," revealed the manager following the 2-1 victory at Middlesbrough that also saw a stunning equaliser from Dean Ashton

"Back in the summer, we knew exactly what type of player we wanted and we worked ever so hard to bring in people with Premier League and Champions League experience, who could be around for a few years."

"After losing the little triangle of Yossi Benayoun, Nigel Reo-Coker and Carlos Tevez, we wanted our signings to make an immediate impact and although we responded with Scott Parker, Craig Bellamy, Julien Faubert and Kieron Dyer, unfortunately the injuries meant that it just never happened. We've taken some big hits.

"When I knew that Nigel Reo-Coker was going, I had no hesitation in going for Scotty and the chairman backed me but within a fortnight we'd lost him. And then when he returned, he got injured again but, fortunately, we're gradually getting players like him back to fitness. The same goes for Dean Ashton and, slowly, we're getting there.

"Meanwhile, people have stood up and they've come to the front and great credit has to go to all the players for picking up 25 points before the halfway mark of the season.

"Looking at our side there should be quite a few goals from midfield and I've asked Scotty to be a bit more offensive than he, perhaps, was up at Newcastle, where he had to be a bit more responsible," continued Curbishley, who saw Parker get off the mark for West Ham United on Saturday upon his return to the north-east.

"When he was coming through the ranks at Charlton he was an attacking midfielder, who scored his fair share of goals and when he was 18-years-old, he came and asked me how he could get into the first team. After loaning him out to Norwich City for a couple months, I told him that he would need to be a holding midfield player but we also knew he would still get goals.

"Now I've asked him to get into the box to try to pinch a few for us here at West Ham United, too. Claudio Ranieri signed him for Chelsea only for Jose Mourinho to come along and when Graeme Souness took him to Newcastle, another new manager with different ideas suddenly turned up there too.

"Scotty also picked up a few injuries, it never really went for him and he's had such a frustrating time but he's worked ever so hard recently and he deserved his goal against Middlesbrough."

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