Zola on the up

Gianfranco Zola was delighted to see his side smash four goals past Portsmouth and extend their unbeaten away run to five games.

The deserved 4-1 victory that owed much to opening goalscorer Jack Collison and Robert Green's heroics took the Hammers up to 13th in the table, with the potential to move back into the top half with a home victory against Stoke City on Sunday afternoon. The manager said the three points was just reward for those recent performances that heralded plenty of plaudits but without the points to match.

"It's fantastic and we have got back what we had conceded in previous games, he said. "It was good, very, very good. I think the team deserved to win. It was a very good close game it could have gone either way. To be fair to Portsmouth they were close to winning as well."

The manager has already started thinking about the visit of Stoke, in what will be the last game of 2008 for West Ham United. "We have a match on Sunday and I have to focus on winning that match or we will be cancelling what we did [at Portsmouth]."

Zola was particularly delighted to see his strikers both register - Carlton Cole getting the crucial second and Craig Bellamy rounding out the victory with the final two strikes. Of Cole, Zola said: "He worked hard and needs to just improve in and around the box. He has had so many chances so far and didn't convert them but [finally] he did. Carlton needs a little bit of confidence and the goal will help him a lot."

The manager admitted his team would miss Bellamy for the Stoke match because of a suspension for five yellow cards - a fate that has befallen Scott Parker for next Saturday's cup visit of Barnsley. "It is a pity as he's going through a very good spell. When he plays for us the way he is playing he is important."

Naturally, as is the case up and down the country, the post-match press conference was dominated about the forthcoming transfer window but the manager was clear about how things will operate.

He said: "[Between] me, [technical director] Gianluca Nani and [CEO] Scott Duxbury there is a total understanding. We work together as a team and that is it. For the moment we are going to try to keep all of our players and will see what happens but we all want to improve this team. We will do all the action necessary to improve this team. It is as simple as that."