Zola stresses Sunday significance

Gianfranco Zola has reiterated just how important the last game of the season to everyone at West Ham United.

Much of the media focus has been on Manchester City being out of the running for UEFA Champions League qualification, but the Hammers have the incentive of a possible 14th place finish. Although not quite last season's ninth place, that would be not a bad achievement with all the early-season issues to contend with.

"I don't know how significant it is for them," said the manager. "For us it is very significant. It is the last game of the season and we are in front of our supporters. If we win the game, we may be able to climb up the table. There is a lot to play for and we are taking it very seriously.

"It is worth money for us to finish higher and also pride. The main objective was to be still in the Premier League and if we can also do that we can do even better."

Zola also stressed his disappointment overall at the campaign, especially away from home. "I am not pleased. We should have done better but I also have to add that with the circumstances and the environment it hasn't been easy.

"That is something to be remembered when people are judging this season but I am the manager and I take responsibility."

He admitted he had already turned some of his thoughts to next season - "I am still the manager, it would be totally unprofessional if I didn't do that" - but added that his future plans would be confirmed after a meeting with the club next week.

He said: "I am paid to do a job by the club and I try to do it the best I can. That is what I have to do. I look to myself and the rest we are going to talk about after the last match, which for me is very important."

The City contest will also be important to the club's internationals, although Valon Behrami misses out with a twisted knee. For the England hopefuls, Zola said there was a chance to further their claims for Fabio Capello's 30-man England squad to be announced on Tuesday.

"If they are called they would be ready to do the job," Zola said about Robert Green, Matthew Upson and Carlton Cole. "They have a lot to prove. It hasn't been a great season for West Ham so they have more to prove."

He also championed Scott Parker's cause, with the news that City midfielder Gareth Barry is out for four weeks. "I feel for him but I think if they decide to take Scott Parker on board, they won't be disappointed. He has been our player of the season.

"For me personally, he has been exceptional and an inspiration for others. If you ask me I would say 'take him', but I am his manager. I know that Fabio Capello will do the right thing."