Zola targets 10 more points with West Ham

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola believes his team need 10 more points to beat the drop - and is challenging his players to upset the form book and pick three of them up at former club Chelsea tomorrow.

The Hammers' disappointing 2-1 home defeat to Bolton last weekend leaves them on 27 points, three above the Barclays Premier League relegation zone with 10 matches remaining.

With their next two games coming away at title challengers Chelsea and Arsenal, many believe it will be West Ham's final eight fixtures which will determine whether they reach the 37-point mark demanded by Zola.

But the Italian sees no reason why the recovery following the loss to Bolton cannot start at Stamford Bridge, a ground where he served Chelsea with distinction between 1996 and 2003.

"Personally, I think 37 should make it for us," Zola said, when asked how many points his team will need to secure their top-flight status.

"Some people are saying less, but I want to be sure that 37 will be a good target for us.

"It will be fantastic for me to win at Stamford Bridge. The situation is that we need those points. For me and my team, I think it will be a big boost forward.

"I think we have enough quality here to do it. But we have to improve our consistency."

Zola will make changes to his team, in terms of both preparation and personnel, for the Chelsea match.

Fit-again centre-back Danny Gabbidon is set to come into the line-up in place of James Tomkins, who was arguably at fault for both goals West Ham conceded against Bolton.

England striker Carlton Cole could start up front on his own, with Zola reverting to a 4-5-1 formation as he looks to improve his side's dreadful away record this season.

Zola was unhappy with the way the Hammers started against Bolton, who scored both their goals in the opening 16 minutes, and is demanding his players switch on from the first whistle.

"It's important in the Premier League that you start the game very well because it really dictates the result," he said.

"The way we started against Bolton, it wasn't good enough. They were better prepared than us and they won the game. That was a big lesson.

"Tomorrow it's going to be important to start properly. And another important thing is going to be the organisation, the desire to be a team and play more like a team.

"It's something in my opinion against Bolton we didn't do very well. That will be vital."

In an online poll on Chelsea's website in 2003, Zola was voted the club's greatest ever player. He scored 80 goals in 312 matches for the Blues and is still a firm fans' favourite in west London.

When Zola returned to Stamford Bridge last season as West Ham boss - in December 2008 - he did not celebrate when Craig Bellamy opened the scoring for the visitors in a 1-1 draw.

Given his side's current predicament at the wrong end of the table, he may change tack should the Hammers take the lead tomorrow.

"Let's score first and then we will see!" he said. "It's a lot about the moment.

"That doesn't mean I wasn't pleased that we scored a goal. That's was just the way I wanted to express the moment.

"I have a lot of people at Chelsea who are special to me. I always care and treat them with respect. It's a place where there are lots of memories for me. Every time I go back, it's a pleasure.

"But my commitment to West Ham is massive and total."

With Julien Faubert ruled out with a hamstring injury, Jonathan Spector could be switched from left-back to right-back, with Swiss youngster Fabio Daprela coming in as a replacement.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most