West Ham pay cut will not deter Zola

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The Independent Football

West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola has insisted he would not walk away from Upton Park despite the entire staff being asked to take a pay cut.

Zola was angry at the timing of co-owner David Sullivan's revelation salaries would have to be slashed to get the Hammers' £60million wage bill down to manageable levels.

It came little more than 24 hours before tonight's vital Premier League encounter against Birmingham at St Andrew's, when Sullivan and West Ham co-owner David Gold take on the club they sold last October.

Zola, who was handed a £1.9million-a-year contract when he joined the club 17 months ago in his first managerial position, pleaded for the West Ham fans to get behind his team and said: "I am what I am and I believe in what I do and I think we can produce good results.

"I am too connected and tied up to the players. I have a relationship with them and the supporters. I do not like to leave a situation unfinished. The players are focused on the job.

"I am not here for the money. Last year when I signed a contract I didn't even know how much I was going to earn.

"I had a plan and a project. It's not about money. It is about working for something positive. I have always enjoyed working for this club. The money was something that came after."

On Sullivan's wage-cut plan being revealed in the media Zola said:

"It would have been better to talk to us before talking to a newspaper. That is my feeling. I think the article should have been done at another time, not just before a match."

Zola did not rule out taking a cut and maintained he would discuss the matter with the owners, but he rejected Sullivan's claims he might be "too nice" to be successful.

And he fired a warning to the co-owners when he said: "I am a person of principles and I am not going to allow anybody to walk on my principles."

As for the football, striker Benni McCarthy misses the Birmingham match with a knee injury picked up in the 2-1 defeat by Burnley on Saturday.

Zola, however, whose team languish in a relegation spot while in-form Birmingham are eighth in the Premier League, backed new signing Mido to "score goals."

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