Manager on Monday

Gianfranco Zola will return to Chadwell Heath this week determined to ensure the club remains in the Barclays Premier League.

The manager has the backing of the joint-chairmen and his squad, and is ready to fight for every point possible in order to keep West Ham United out of the bottom three. Although the club suffered another setback against Stoke City at the weekend, the manager has faith in his team - and himself - to change things.

Zola admitted when questioned on Saturday night that he would be taking time to think things over but, having headed back to Italy for a couple of days, is in no doubt that he is the man to lead the club in the six "cup finals" left this season. That starts right now with Everton away on Sunday, and Zola is up for the battle.

"I am determined to carry on. Losing on Saturday was emotional for everyone but I know we can turn it around and we have the ability to achieve our objectives," he said. "The owners have backed me and I am grateful for that. My only thought for now is to keep this club in the Premier League and that remains my goal. I will give everything I can to make this happen between now and the end of the season.

"I have had time to think and reflect, and will have to work harder than we have before. I know we can get the results we need and it is just a question of making it happen. The performance was better on Saturday but it is still not the level we should be at. We can, and we will, do better as a team."

The manager lamented the loss before the Stoke City match of striker Guille Franco - with a "splinter in his achilles" - while Kieron Dyer who was "doing well" did not return after half-time on his first-team comeback. "That is typical of our season," said Zola. "But we will not make excuses and we will keep on going."

He added: "I have a great staff and we will work together to find the solutions. We have a responsibility to turn things around and that is what we will do. I am here and I am ready to do what I need to do to get the results. There is no doubt about that. We have seen before that we are capable of playing at a high level."

Looking back at Stoke, the manager admitted it was a case of what might have been on a day when Thomas Sorensen was far busier than Robert Green in goal. Mido was especially unlucky with a close-range effort that seemed gilt-edged. "The ball was bouncing too high and he couldn't get it under control," Zola said.

With the team having tightened up at the back - save for a piece of Ricardo Fuller brilliance - the manager knows 'goals for' remains key. With home dates to come against Sunderland, Wigan Athletic and Manchester City, as well as two away days at Liverpool and Fulham after Everton, he is ready for better fortune, and form.

"We will go to Everton determined to get a result. People might not expect us to get something from the match but we will be positive. No one should write us off. Although we are in a serious position we have time to sort things out and be in control of our destiny at the end of the season.

"We said before Stoke that one game would not define the season but we also know that each of the games we have left will be cup finals. They will be massive and I know the fans will once again get behind us starting with Everton and we will give everything to reward their support. They have been brilliant and we owe them."