'We are all together'

Gianfranco Zola has drawn on his own difficult experiences as a player during West Ham United's recent indifferent run of form.

The Hammers boss battled his way to the top of the game as a player after starting out with local clubs Nuorese and Torres in his native Sardinia, and is now determined to show the same steely resolve as a manager.

At the same time, Zola is also aware that his position makes him feel responsible for his coaching staff and players.

"Football-wise, I have always had a difficult time because I have always gone the long way. I had to make my own way through. I had to make sacrifices and work hard. That's what we have to do right now. Things are not going well, so we have to work hard and make sacrifices.

"Before, when I was a player I was on my own and I suffered on my own, but now I suffer for the players and I'm responsible for them. Now, I have the responsibility for the players and I know they are trying very hard.

"What keeps me happy is that I think I'm doing the right thing. I'm working very hard. The results are not going my way, but a lot of things have happened, but my heart is there and I am doing it with all my honesty. Although the results are not coming my way now, that doesn't stop me from trying all the time."

With Sunday's Barclays Premier League trip to Everton in mind and already having acknowledged the fantastic commitment of thousands of Hammers to brave the holiday traffic up to Goodison Park, Zola also thanked those who have sent him messages of support during his side's run of six defeats in succession.

"To be honest, I've had a few people who have been calling me, close friends, but I don't like to mention them without telling them because I'm sure they want to stay in the background. There have been few people who have called me and I thank them. I've had some very encouraging messages from other managers."

Another thing that has kept the manager going is his own conviction that his commitment to his pure footballing principles.

At the same time, Zola conceded that he was determined to make his team hard to beat at Goodison Park.

"We've been working a lot on the organisation over the last two weeks because it was required in the Stoke game, and we saw an improvement. The game was decided by a piece of magic from [Ricardo] Fuller. For me, the way I pictured the game, it was going to be tight and one piece of magic from somebody would resolve the game, but unfortunately it came from a Stoke player.

"I won't change my philosophy. It would be silly not to look at the situation and try different things, but I won't change my philosophy. It's the only reason why I'm in football.

"The run has been dreadful, but I have the players behind me and I have brilliant staff beside me and we are all together in this. If I had people who were not committed or were thinking on their own, then this would be a problem, but I don't think that is the case. You can see that from the commitment they have shown."

On Easter Sunday, the manager said he had strong faith that things will turn out for the best for the club.

"I pray every single day. First of all, we work hard, and then we put a lot of faith in what we do. Sometimes you do everything right and something goes wrong and you lose the game. That has happened so many times this season. Other times, it goes your way, so you always have to be positive and wait for those times. I pray for me, for my players and for everybody."