Manager on Monday

Gianfranco Zola's hardest task in reflecting on the weekend 3-0 win against Hull City was to single out any individual for praise because it was such an impressive team display.

Alessandro Diamanti was the match sponsor's top performer and the announcement of his accolade went down well with the near-on 34,000 packed into the Boleyn Ground, save for a few hundred from Hull. Zola certainly had plenty of good things to say about his compatriot but was quick after that to mention many others.

"Alessandro excites me," said the manager, who had also already spoken in his previous post-match press conference of the fantastic form of forwards Carlton Cole and Guille Franco. It was Diamanti though that left the lasting impression, with his flair for the spectacular lingering in the mind.

"That is the reason why I keep playing him, although I have very good players. I keep playing him all the time because I know he can do something special for us at any moment.

"It is important to have players like that because they keep the other team on their toes. That is a big thing confidence-wise for the whole team. He also keeps the crowd involved. It is a big thing for me, knowing that on the pitch I have a player that can score at any time."

Let alone his match prize, Diamanti may well have been handed the Goal of the Season award there and then had his audacious halfway line effort found the net. "He is the only player crazy enough to try and score from there," added Zola, who was then asked if he saw something of himself in the No32?

"He does remind me of me - sometimes he does the unpredictable things. He also does some unpredictable mistakes as I used to. That is the kind of player he is, you have to take him for that. What is surprising me is that his work-rate has been fantastic. He is helping the team.

"He is also playing in a position he has never played in. In Italy, he was always second striker or just behind the two strikers in the hole. He didn't work very hard defensively. If you see how he is playing now and his work-rate, it is massive for the team."

Scott Parker and Radoslav Kovac had been highlighted in the manager's programme notes for the way they screen in front of the defence and the plaudits came thick and fast after the game. "I have always said Scotty is one of my key players. As long as he is playing at this level anything can happen for him [in terms of England].

"He was really good again. I must say that also Kovac right now has been massive. He is working so hard and is also helping Scotty's game, giving him the freedom to get forward.

"I would also mention Robert Green, who made a fantastic save [from George Boateng] in the first half which was worth a goal at one-nil. That save was unbelievable. It allowed us to go into the changing room and reorganise ourselves and become better. Valon Behrami also did very well."

Julien Faubert put the seal on the victory with a late third goal and it was his "incredible pass" that set up Carlton Cole for the second. Reflecting on the strong finish after a fiery opening summed up by Behrami's early goal, the manager added: "The whole team is getting better and the more confidence you get, the more the players can give."

Ultimately it is the squad not the individual that will determine the Hammers' fate this season as it was in successful survival fights of years gone by. The manager has faith in his men and, with a settled scene off the field, is looking forward to finishing on a high.

"It has been hard for me and the players. When you are playing and there are so many things going on around you, it was like all the time you were trying to repair that, and then you repair that and repair that - and then something happens again.

"It was very difficult for me and for everybody. Now with the situation more stable, the results are coming - this team has got quality. No doubt about that. It just needs to be in this condition to show how good we are."