Zola proud of performance

Gianfranco Zola was proud of his side's performance after a Ryan Giggs goal was all that separated them and Manchester United.

The Welshman's fine solo strike just after the hour mark gave the visiting champions the lead and, despite plenty of pressure from the home side, the Red Devils stood firm to take all three points. Zola was delighted with the manner in which his players approached the game.


"For me it has been a positive match, forget about the result," Zola said. "I know we lost but I don't just watch the result, I also make other considerations as well. We were playing against the best team in Europe, if not the world and we just lost by one goal in a very tight match. I am very happy for my team, despite the fact we lost the game."

Carlton Cole again tirelessly led the line and gave Nemanja Vidic and the returning Rio Ferdinand no end of problems. The 25-year-old striker would no doubt have impressed the watching Fabio Capello, who has called Cole up into his England squad for the first time, alongside Matthew Upson and Robert Green.

Zola said: "Every time he controlled the ball in the box he had one man on top of him straight away. That is down to their attention defensively. Carlton is a player that is improving all of the time and getting better and better.

"If I was Fabio Capello I would have had a very good impression of Carlton. He kept them alert all the way through the second half. I think he is going to be a very good player for him. I'm sure he will be a good player for him, whether he plays him or not I don't know."

Zola felt West Ham challenged the champions in every department and the match was a good indicator of how far West Ham United have come under his stewardship. "I am sure it won't be easy for anyone to come here and beat us. But they [Manchester United] did it in a very professional way.

"They punished us in the only mistake we made. Our goalkeeper hardly made any saves, so I'm very complimentary to them as if you can win games like this you are very strong."