Green defends 'hamstrung' Zola

England goalkeeper Robert Green insists the team are behind Gianfranco Zola after the West Ham boss vowed to stay on and keep the club in the Barclays Premier League.

Zola returned home to Sardinia following the 1-0 defeat by Stoke that left his side on the brink of the relegation zone.

But after pondering his future, Zola decided he was in no mood to quit Upton Park and Green insists the players are right behind the Italian.

"He's a great man and a great manager and you could see on Saturday that it's not through want of trying," said Green.

"He's been hamstrung through the season with selection problems and players leaving and injuries and things like that and he's just putting out the teams that seem fit for the games. It's up to us to put in the effort that we did on Saturday and to have the confidence to carry on playing and play more football in and around the final-third which, hopefully, will make the difference."

Zola thought long and hard about his future after giving the players three days off but he chose to continue the battle to keep the Hammers in the top flight.

"I am determined to carry on," declared Zola. "Losing on Saturday was emotional for everyone but I know we can turn it around and we have the ability to achieve our objectives."

West Ham's performances had come under fire from co-owner David Sullivan but Zola says he had a supportive conversation with him and co-owner David Gold after the Stoke defeat.

"They have backed me and I am grateful," added Zola. "My only thought for now is to keep this club in the Premier League and that remains my goal. I'll give everything I can to make this happen between now and the end of the season.

"I have had time to think and we 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 will, do better as a team."

Zola found himself at the centre of more criticism for giving his players three days off before resuming training on Wednesday.

But after two high-pressure matches in five days and the next, at Everton, not until next Sunday, it was felt desirable to give the players a breather.

"We will go to Everton determined to get a result," said Zola, who should return to training in London tomorrow.

"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."

Zola also emphasised the magnitude of each match to his squad with goal difference now a slim barrier between them and a place in the bottom three.

"We said before Stoke that one game would not define the season but we know each of the games left will be cup finals," he added.

"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."

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