Pantsil pride at fan backing

John Pantsil has told WHUTV he is overawed by the support from the West Ham United fans after the raucous reception that greeted him at Arsenal.

The Ghanaian international came in at the Emirates Stadium for his first league start since October 2006 and more than impressed in an unfamiliar role on the right-side of midfield. His all-action display - that included several driving runs and a spectacular overhead kick that just missed - was a continuation of a fine appearance off the bench in last Saturday's win against Manchester United.

Despite the scoreline, the travelling West Ham United faithful were quick to make their appreciation known. The massed ranks came up with several songs in support of the No14 - an effort that did not go unnoticed by Pantsil during the game. "Well I was so happy," he said, when asked about hearing his name sung in such good voice.

"I love the fans and the way they always cheer the players up," he added. "Everywhere we go we see the fans in their numbers. They are great people. We love them and whenever I am playing, and see the fans, it gives me more strength. I love the fans and always want to see them."

While there was cause for personal satisfaction, Pantsil could not hide his dismay at seeing the club come up short against the league leaders. "We are so disappointed about the two goals we conceded," he said. "It was so early and it affected the spirit of the team. We tried to do our best to overcome it but we couldn't make it."

A veteran of the 2006 World Cup and in line to feature at this month's African Cup of Nations, Pantsil knows what it takes to play at the highest level. He believes the side will take the positives from the 2-0 defeat and come back stronger against Manchester City in the FA Cup on Saturday.

"We are going to learn from this and keep our heads up. We hope we are going to keep our heads together because we have to forget about it and focus on the rest of the games."

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