Pardew puts points first amid talk of takeovers

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The Independent Online

Alan Pardew said yesterday that he accepted the £100m possible takeover of West Ham United had "moved on a little bit further" following the declaration of the Israeli businessman Eli Papoushado that he was willing to help fund the deal.

However, the West Ham manager insisted that it was more important for his team "to put in a performance" against Manchester City today "that shows there is no problem here". That follows a dip in form, a draw and two defeats, since the arrival of Argentinian World Cup stars Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano, and the entrepreneur Kia Joorabchian's confirmation he may mount a takeover.

"I'm not sure how it affects the players, to be honest," Pardew said of yesterday's declaration, revealed in The Independent, by Papoushado that he will go into partnership with Joorabchian. Indeed, Pardew added of the increasing speculation: "For my part I don't want to get involved too much in that. I'm focusing very much on what is the issue at the moment for me as the manager of the team and that is performances and results.

"That's because once you get a couple of defeats the press, the media, even the fans and people close to the club can suggest it's not quite the same and the signings have disrupted the spirit. In all honesty, I don't believe that's true. We need to put a full 90 minutes together and get a result and then we can put some of the silly stuff that's been floating about to bed."

Pardew said it had been a help not to be involved in Carling Cup football this week - unlike City, who lost to Chesterfield - and he has used the extra days of training to help bed in the new acquisitions. "We've been able to give Mascherano and Tevez the opportunity to see what we are about and what we need to do to win games," Pardew said. "They are becoming more and more ingrained in the little intricacies that I like in my team to win games."

Pardew has also made clear that if West Ham is taken over he will not countenance any interference in team matters and selection - and indeed would walk away if it is suggested. His opponent today, City's Stuart Pearce, is also undergoing trying times with the dramatic collapse of his team's results. They have suffered 13 defeats in 16 matches with many tracing their decline to last season's reverse to West Ham in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

"It adds extra spice to the tie," Pardew said while voicing his admiration of Pearce. "We're desperate for a win. It's going to be a strained game, there's going to be a lot of tension in the air."

Pearce is still understood to enjoy the backing of the City board and insisted that there was "no crisis".

"People have a right to their opinion," he said. "They can look at our run of results and make an opinion on them. But there are three teams below us, we are level on points with Tottenham and only one behind West Ham, who have the strongest squad in their history. I won't make excuses. Our defeat at Chesterfield was poor but I have faith in my players."

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