Zola on 'massive win'

Gianfranco Zola has spoken of the togetherness at West Ham United after an impressive 2-0 victory against in-form Birmingham City lifted the club four places in the table.

The manager was delighted his players were able to give the new owners - along with the "magnificent" fans - a first victory since taking charge last month, especially with no players sold and three new forwards arriving. Alessandro Diamanti and man of the match Carlton Cole scored the goals in a victory that Zola said would do much to lift spirits for the task ahead.


"It is a massive win," he said. "Remember psychology in football is unbelievable, you can't imagine how important it is. It changes your body, your physique completely.

"You could see in the first half, we started very well and as soon as they created a half-chance we started to get a little bit nervous - us, the crowd, everybody. When you play in these situations it is so difficult, you need to get through those moments. Fortunately the goal relaxed everybody and it will be a big boost for the whole atmosphere around the club.

"It is a great thing for us also because we have another home match coming [against Hull City on Saturday week]. It will give us a great boost and believe it or not, I think this team is still playing at 70 per cent of its potential. Trust me, when the team get fitter and have more composure it will be better.

"It is important that we win games, we win well and we are a unit. Today all of that came out from the game and that is the most important thing - the message that we send to everybody. We are all going in the same direction and that is a vital thing to have to do well.

"I am proud. Honestly, trust me it was difficult because it was a shaky game and they are a good team. Now we have to keep working together to make this team reach a better position. Me doing my job, the chairmen doing their job and the team doing its job - that is the story."

He singled out several players for special mention, not least Diamanti who had scored a hat-trick including two free-kicks at the Boleyn Ground against Birmingham reserves earlier in the season and once again showed his set-piece prowess. It was all nothing the manager has not seen on the Chadwell Heath training pitches.

"Alessandro is very good at taking free-kicks. We just had a little competition the other day and he is very good, trust me. It is good. He scored a really great goal but also his performance was excellent.

"Yesterday we were taking free-kicks, and he said 'I hope I am going to get a good one here in this position'. That is the position he got. He scored a fantastic goal. It was very good."

The free-kick came at the perfect moment on the stroke of half-time after a marauding run by Scott Parker, who once again "had a good game" to add to his many top-class displays this campaign. He added: "It was a fantastic run. He had a couple like that in the first half. It came at the right moment. It was a great moment to score."

The goal sparked mass celebrations around the manager, which Zola said were prompted by the determination within the squad to get the club out of trouble. Asked whether he could cope with five players jumping on top of him, he simply said with a smile - "I am a strong guy".

"We are going through a difficult moment and we want to stick together," Zola added. "There is not any other message than we are together, the players and the staff and we want the team to succeed.

"We are in a position that we don't like and we want to do everything we can to improve it. We care about this club and we want to be successful. It was a good gesture. I appreciated it very much and it is important that there is a good connection between the staff, myself and the other people that work at the club."