Zola praises 'fantastic' team

Gianfranco Zola claims that West Ham United's superb form is a result of a real team effort from his players and staff.

The Hammers manager has won widespread praise after guiding his side to a seven-match unbeaten run by playing a brand of exciting, incisive pass-and-move football. While much of the credit for United's recent performances is certainly due to Zola, the boss is eager to share it with his team, coaches and support staff.

West Ham United go to Arsenal on Saturday having not lost on their travels since 29 October. With such a fine run of results behind them both at home - where they have won their last four matches in all competitions - and on the road, Zola cannot wait to get going at the Emirates Stadium.

"I would like to say I am not doing this, we are doing this. I have a fantastic team I am working with. Everybody is very much committed to what we are doing and doing a great job and the players love it. When you get staff as good as I've got and the players I've got then half the job is done. The rest is about confidence. You can see that. We were losing games but the players were still up for it and as soon as we got two wins in a row everything is coming together. It is teamwork and I am pleased to be in a very good team.

"I believe that losing those games in October was an important of the build up to this. The team is strong mentally, technically and physically and it is good as we are building something important here and you can smell the atmosphere here and I'm very pleased to be involved in this."

A vital part of Zola's 'very good' team is striker Carlton Cole, who has scored in each of his last five Premier League matches - a feat not achieved since Tony Cottee netted in five consecutive Division One matches between September and October 1985.

Zola, who played alongside a fledgling Cole during the pair's time together at Chelsea, has always believed his former team-mate had all the weapons required to become a potent Premier League force. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the manager is delighted with the 25-year-old's goalscoring form.

"I think it is down to him and everybody knew he was good at keeping the ball and playing for the team but now he is focussed on scoring goals, which was the thing that was missing. We are trying to improve him, helping him in training sessions and make him better in this way. Now he is scoring goals and is getting them. It is just about focus and his focus is right on target now."

Should Cole score at the Emirates, he will equal John Dick, who netted in six consecutive top-flight matches between November and December 1958. However, the striker still has some way to match the exploits of the club's record goalscorer Vic Watson, who scored in six straight top-flight fixtures on no fewer than five occasions. Watson also hit the net nine times in seven matches between April and September 1929.