Manager on Monday

Gianfranco Zola was keen to single out the efforts of his backroom staff as he reflected on a rapid reversal of fortune in the past week.

A 2-2 draw at Everton and a 1-0 home win against Sunderland that lifted the club four points clear of the drop zone was not achieved without considerable effort, most obviously of course from the players with strong support from the fans. Zola though emphasised the efforts made by his coaches to hovercome a miserable March.

"The inspiration came from my staff," he said. "We got together and we analysed the situation and we found a new way to get the points and results. That has been a good thing. Me, Steve, Kevin Keen, Kevin Hitchcock and Antonio Pintus have been together and we have found a new way.

"Last year we found a way of playing nice football and getting results. This year, we are working more as a team more defensively to get the points. The secret is that we have stuck together with them and worked hard.

"The team as a whole has found new belief and they know we can do better working together as a group. We have changed the way we do things and have looked hard at how we organise as a team. It is producing good results and credit must go to my staff.

"The crazy thing about football is the situation can change quite rapidly. I don't think that many people were giving us any chance of getting a point at Everton and now after these two matches we are in a much better position. That is football. We never lost faith in ourselves, though.

"I must say the support that I have had has been fantastic. It was good to go away, clear the mind and come back with more motivation and strength. It is paying off. I know we can keep that going against Liverpool and Wigan."

Zola also reiterated that he has not given his players an easy ride in recent weeks, getting tough when he has to is not something he finds difficult. "When my players do something that is not good, they get told off. Don't worry about that. When they do something wrong they get the point straight away.

"The job is not done yet but we have taken a major step forward. The fan support has played a big part as we knew it would and we need more of the same until the end of the season.

"The whole team has shown plenty of commitment. We have been defending from the front and when you have everyone pulling together, it gives you a real chance of getting a positive result. We have improved our position from two weeks ago but we still need to maintain the same focus and keep working hard. It is the only way to get the job done."