Gianfranco Zola may have a 100 per cent record from his first two league games but he sees plenty more work to be done at Chadwell Heath before the squad are fully playing his way.
His status as one of the greatest imports the English game has ever seen naturally commands respect and he wants his professionalism as a player to be matched by his squad on and off the pitch. Zola said: "Everybody knows that looking after yourself, their body, their quality of life is vital to a good footballer. I am going to be strict on that. I can't afford to have talented players spoiling themselves because of this. I won't allow it. Not at all, I will be very hard on that."
Along with his coaching team, the manager has worked the players hard in the past two weeks. "I have tried to work my way and I know it is very demanding physically," he said before acknowledging the squad "haven't had the full benefit of that yet". He has been delighted with the efforts he has got back so far though and after the Fulham victory gave them a deserved couple of days off, adding "They will be working very hard next week so they need it."
One individual who has been particularly working hard is Carlton Cole and the manager singled him out for special praise. "He has been fantastic. He scored a goal, he helped the team so much," he said before stating he had no intention of leaving him out after his disciplinary problem last week. "He has to make up. The only way is to pay a fine as he did and help the team on the pitch."
When asked how much his striker could achieve, Zola added: "I believe that if he turns in performances like this all the time, he can have a marvellous opportunity. Try to understand that Carlton Cole is playing not his best. If he improves his finishing the way he works, he could be an unbelievable player."