Zola makes a 'good point'

Gianfranco Zola was keen to look at the positives after Monday night's 0-0 draw with a battling West Bromwich Albion side.

West Ham United endured a frustrating evening in front of goal at the Boleyn Ground, with West Brom goalkeeper Scott Carson rarely troubled. There were, however, plenty of plus points for the manager to carry into the weekend's game with Blackburn Rovers, with the encouraging displays of several of the younger members of his squad chief among them.

England Under-20 international James Tomkins was a particular shining light in central defence, while 19-year-old winger Junior Stanislas gave a promising performance on his debut after coming off the bench. Fellow teenagers Savio and Freddie Sears will also have both benefitted from an extended run out after starting, the latter for the first time. Zola said: "It is a good point for us because of all of the problems we had and because of a good performance from West Brom."

With Carlton Cole suspended, Jack Collison and Valon Behrami out through injury and Diego Tristan only fit enough for a place on the bench after recovering from a muscle injury, Zola was forced into rejigging both personnel and tactics for the match. The manager, however, did not want to use it as an excuse and was keen to praise the performance of Tony Mowbray's side.

"[Having players out] certainly doesn't help. We knew exactly what the problem might have been and that's why we tried to play differently. Certainly we were not the same team as we have been at other times but also I have to say West Brom played a very good match. I said before that they are a very good team, they play good football and they are a dangerous team."

The draw moves West Ham United two points clear in seventh position and keeps their chase for a possible UEFA Europa League place next year very much alive, and Zola is confident his side can hold on to their position until the end of the season.

"We have a few problems with injuries and a few big players missing for us but we are going to have a go and we are going to try. It is going to be a bit harder than before but we will try."

Zola was forced into reorganising his defence when Matthew Upson left the field with a calf injury in the 29th minute. Initial reports showed the injury was not too serious, although Upson will have further tests by the club's medical team before a decision is made on his availability for Saturday's game at Ewood Park.

"I am hopeful Matthew shouldn't be too bad. He had a problem before he came on the pitch but it shouldn't be too bad. I believe it is not a major problem but right now it is difficult to say how long it is going to be."



The only reason I didn't play him is that he has been out with a muscle problem. Plus I had the feeling that Freddie deserved the chance today.

Tristan more presence?

Maybe. It is a week that is very important week and how he works physically. If he works well and I see he is in good shape, I will play him.