Zola expecting better

Gianfranco Zola has spoken of his determination to turn performances into points after his West Ham United more than matched high-flying Aston Villa.

With his team unbeaten in four games away from home, including draws with Liverpool and Chelsea, Zola said it was frustrating to see his team then compete with Villa only to lose out in a 1-0 loss. "It is hard, trust me," he said when asked to explain his immediate emotions. "It is difficult to come off the pitch after you play a game like that and come away with nothing.

"It is hard to describe for me. We had so many chances. We were playing against the team that is fourth in the table and we are just one point from relegation but you didn't see that on the pitch … the team is performing well and creating chances, doing everything well but coming away with no points.

"It makes me so upset like you can't even imagine. I'm upset, I'm frustrated for my players because they deserve much better than this and the crowd deserve much better than this. It is impossible that it will carry on like this that's all I can say about this."

The manager, who substituted Scott Parker at half-time and then saw Valon Behrami unable to continue with a back problem early in the second half, said poor luck also played a part in the visitors' goal, a deflection off Lucas Neill that gave Robert Green no chance. "We came down so many times and had great chances but the ball didn't want to go in. they came down once, the ball hits our defender and goes in the top corner.

"What can I do? I don't just give up, I need to be strong about this and this is what I told my players. We have to start making our own luck. If a team plays like this there is no way it can be like this forever and that's what I can say. I am very sorry for them, they deserve better than this."

The manager knows a week can make a big difference in the Premier League with Friday's Boxing Day visit to Portsmouth and next Sunday's home game with Stoke City to come. In between, he is pledging plenty of work on finishing to turn bright play into goals. "Certainly that is one of the things we need to improve, I have said it many times. We are going to be working on this and the players give 100 per cent all the time in training … it won't be like this forever.

"I saw the players, they don't like this. I don't like this, I want to react. We are not giving up on this. I'll make sure that when they come in on Monday I will be pushing them. They know that they can help this and they will work on how to make it right.

"We are maybe near the bottom but this is a very strange championship and if you win a two games you find yourself in the middle of the table like Sunderland. And I tell you it will be soon that this team will start scoring more goals than we are doing."