Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Praise from Pardew

Alan Pardew is, unsurprisingly, full of praise for the West Ham United team that took Aston Villa apart yesterday, and revealed that the last training session before the match showed the team's potential.

Sunday's training was the best session I have ever witnessed from a team as a manager or player," said Alan. "It was unbelievable, and I thought that if we play that way against Villa the following day then we'd have a great chance.

"Everyone was terrific and the energy from the players was amazing. The signs were certainly there from the players that we could put in a performance. But it is never a guarantee as any manager will tell you, so I was delighted to see the team go out and give a performance like that. It was a perfect night for us.

"Everyone was great for us. The back four were magnificent again and gave us a great platform to build on going forward. The midfield was full of energy and up front we were looking dangerous every time we went forward. We worked extremely hard and really forced the issue against a good team.

"Again we played a really open game, perhaps a bit more open than we would have liked at times. But to do that you have to have good individual players in your defence and we certainly have that. The likes of Anton Ferdinand, Danny Gabbidon and Paul Konchesky were outstanding, but if I had to pick one of the back four as the best on the night it would have to be Tomas Repka. Tomas has taken criticism in the past, but everything he did against Villa was outstanding. Their front two have pace and guile, so to keep a clean sheet against them was a really good effort."

Pardew also singled out the gifted but hard-working Yossi Benayoun for praise. "Yossi is one of those players that makes you get out of your seat. He is easy on the eye, he lets the ball drift across him like Zidane and he goes either way. It is very difficult to deal with when you have players like that. He showed a real work ethic against Villa and I think he surprised a few people. He won three headers against a 6ft 1in full-back. There are all sorts of things to his game. There is a presence about him.

"I had a feeling Yossi would like this division. He got better every year in Spain and when you look at his pedigree, you have to say he is a thoroughbred horse and hopefully he will get better at West Ham."

The West Ham boss also revealed that he nearly dropped Marlon Harewood after some disappointing displays. "It was not cut and dried that I picked Marlon," Alan said. "Bobby Zamora is in good form and he wants to play.

"Marlon is a confident lad but worries about his football. It concerns him, he wants to listen and he wants to learn. The thing about Marlon is that when he works hard it all clicks into gear. But he doesn't always do that. The fans have been a bit impatient with him at times because he just switches off a little bit.

Pardew congratulates Harewood on his superb display

"He has to play at 100 miles an hour. He is not good when he backs off and he started at the right tempo. There were times last year when he did not do that and he had poor games. In the Premier League you cannot play at 80%, even for periods of the game.

"He gave everything he had and at the end he could hardly walk."

In a separate interview, Marlon Harewood spoke about the competition for places at West Ham. "It's not extra pressure for me, it's good competition. You have to take your chance. It brings the best out in everybody because you have to give 100% to get in the team. People have been getting on my back as I am the striker and I have to get goals. I know with my goalscoring record there is no reason for people to get on my back but that is the way it is in football. They are looking for top people to do top things and I just have to keep doing what I am doing. It is good the manager has kept faith in me. He has faith in all the players here. He has got us to the Premiership and done fantastic."

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