Players give backing to Zola

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The Independent Football

West Ham striker Mido insists the whole squad are behind under-fire manager Gianfranco Zola.

The Upton Park boss has been considering his future in the job since Stoke inflicted a sixth consecutive Barclays Premier League defeat on the Hammers.

Only goal difference now separates West Ham from the relegation zone and Hull, who are level on points after beating Fulham, have a game in hand.

Zola wanted to work out whether he is the right man to bring the best out of a squad that includes England internationals Robert Green, Matthew Upson, Carlton Cole and Scott Parker.

Mido said: "Everyone is working so hard for the manager. We're behind that man. He is a top manager, in my opinion, and we're all behind him.

"I think we have a very good chance of staying up. If you look in the dressing room and you see the faces in there, you don't see a team that is going to get relegated.

"By experience, by names and by people who want to work hard for this club, I don't think this team is going down."

West Ham's run-in is tough, starting with a trip to Everton next weekend followed by fixtures against Sunderland, Liverpool, Wigan, Fulham and Manchester City.

Mido said: "Everton are a very good team, but we're definitely going to go there to get at least a point.

"We're going to work hard. It didn't work for us on Saturday, but I hope that it will work for us next week."

West Ham's outspoken co-chairman David Sullivan had said Zola's job would be safe whatever the result against Stoke.

But Zola himself is beginning to doubt his ability to stop the rot.

Asked after the game whether he would consider resigning, Zola said: "I have to find out what the problem is. If the problem is me then why not?

"The players are trying hard for us. The bottom line is to see whether I can help them or not.

"I have no agendas other than doing a good job for this club so I will consider whether I am doing a good job.

"We are not performing as well as we should and I take responsibility for that."

Stoke manager Tony Pulis urged Sullivan and co-owner David Gold to stick by Zola.

"The West Ham chairmen here have said they will back Gianfranco and that is brilliant because he needs backing now. This is when you show your real colours and character," said Pulis.

"It is a very lonely job. It will be interesting to see what backing Gianfranco gets.

"What they need is a game where they don't play well but get a win and that will bring the confidence back."