Manager 'pleased and proud'

Gianfranco Zola has reiterated his pride at being appointed manager of West Ham United as he prepares his team for the televised trip to Liverpool on Monday night.

Heading into the final month of the year and a run of games which will see his team take on three of the nation's current top four as well as old rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Zola spoke of his honour at being able to lead West Ham United. "It's a great club which has a lot of tradition. There is a very good atmosphere and I like it. I like the challenge.

"For me it is a big challenge but I know what is important for the club and to please them is a great feeling for me. I am very, very pleased and proud to be here," Zola added. The manager said morale had been boosted for the Anfield date after the all-round team performance 1-0 win at Sunderland last weekend.

"It was a great result. It certainly helped the players to feel a little bit more comfortable. It is important that you get wins. No matter if you play or train well, if you don't get points the confidence goes down. I am very pleased because that victory is going to give them an extra boost in confidence which is important."

Zola is also unfazed by the prospect of taking on the joint-leaders who have yet to lose at home this season. "I don't feel daunted," he said. "I feel very much charged by it. It is one of those games where if you get something positive out of it, it is very important for your team and when I play games like this I like to face this kind of challenge. I know it can be hard but the reward that you can get from games like this is huge."