Zola plays down West Ham rift rumours

By Alex Lowe,Pa
Sunday 23 October 2011 03:24

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola has not fallen out with chief executive Scott Duxbury and technical director Gianluca Nani over his club's transfer dealings.

The Hammers have made their worst start to a Premier League campaign since the relegation season of 2002-03, and Zola blasted his players' bad attitude after yesterday's 2-2 draw with 10-man Fulham.

Nani is in charge of player recruitment at Upton Park, and reports over the weekend stated Zola was upset with the decision to sell Craig Bellamy in January and James Collins during the summer transfer window.

In their place, West Ham have signed the lively Italian striker Alessandro Diamanti and Portuguese defender Manuel da Costa - who has made just one league appearance so far this season.

But Zola insists he has been involved in shaping the current squad and has not lost faith in his players after a run of six league games without a win.

"The squad is very good. I am very happy with the players I have got. I decided to have them and I am going to work with them," he said.

"I have always said that what we're doing here is something we are doing together. My relationship with Gianluca Nani and Scott Duxbury is wonderful. We are working very well together, as we said last year when we came together, and we are even closer.

"We have a strong spirit, and nothing will stop us from trying to achieve success.

"The points are not coming in the way we want, but we will respond on the pitch.

"Obviously we can certainly be better than what we are. I remain positive, because there is big potential.

"This is a moment where every single mistake is costing us very much."

West Ham were 1-0 up and cruising at half-time against Fulham but lost all composure once Danny Murphy equalised from the penalty spot immediately after the interval.

Poor defending allowed Zoltan Gera to volley Fulham ahead, before Junior Stanislas came off the bench to strike the deflected equaliser two minutes into added time.

Zola vowed to crack the whip and will have no qualms about dropping senior players if he feels it necessary.

"This was a very important match," he said.

"We need to improve the focus. The game is made by details - and if you don't pay attention to the details you will keep dropping points. It is as simple as that.

"We have to raise our attention, and I am here to do that.

"I don't pick the players - they pick themselves with their performances. The players know that if they don't do the work then somebody else will play instead."

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