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West Ham's Gianfranco Zola plays down goal celebration


Zola hails 'massive' West Ham win

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola insisted there was nothing behind the players' reactions to the opening goal in Wednesday's 2-0 win over Birmingham.

The 43-year-old Italian wants to focus on moving the Hammers up the table after a pre-match verbal spat with co-owner David Sullivan.

"It is the end of the story. It was just a celebration because we are going through a difficult moment," he said.

"There was no other message than we are together - the players and the staff."

With West Ham hovering above the relegation zone, it was a crucial three points for the club in the battle to beat the drop.

The relief of breaking the deadlock right on the stroke of half-time was clear when Zola was buried under goalscorer Alessandro Diamanti and his team-mates following a superb 20-yard free-kick.

The build-up to the game had been clouded in an exchange of words between the Italian boss and Sullivan, who took over the east Londoners with David Gold in January.

Sullivan revealed earlier this week the club, who have debts of £110 million, were facing "Armageddon" if relegated and suggested the players take a 25% wage cut.

Zola then hit back on the eve of the Upton Park clash with the Blues by saying: "When an article comes before a big match I'm not happy - I don't think it is any good for the whole team."


West Ham's first win since Boxing Day, which was rubber stamped by Carlton Cole's first goal in three months on 67 minutes, has moved them up to 14th in the table - but they are only one point clear of the bottom three.

Despite appreciating the joyous scenes following Diamanti's strike, Zola insisted it was time for everyone to pull together.

"We care about this club and want to be successful. It was a good gesture and I appreciated it. It means we are all going in the same direction and it is vital to do well," the former Chelsea striker added.

"We want the team to succeed. We are in a position we don't like and want to improve it and that's the way I took it. The important thing is that we won the game.

"It is important we win games and win well and that we are a unit. That is the most important message we send to everybody. I am motivated and driven to do well for this team and that is the most important thing."

Sullivan comments 'spurred' West Ham on

Sullivan has expressed concerns with the club's finances and said he feared they could go the way of Newcastle, who were relegated from the Premier League in 2009 after a season of off-field turmoil.

"I can't believe the contracts I've inherited," he told BBC Sport. "The club is in a mess and we all have to pull together. It'll be Armageddon if we go down. It'll be worse than what's gone on at Newcastle."

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see also
West Ham 2-0 Birmingham
10 Feb 10 |  Premier League
Sullivan plea badly timed - Zola
09 Feb 10 |  West Ham
West Ham seek financial backers
05 Feb 10 |  Business
Big-spending clubs anger Sullivan
02 Feb 10 |  West Ham
McCarthy completes West Ham move
01 Feb 10 |  West Ham
Hammers debt is 110m - Sullivan
19 Jan 10 |  West Ham
Gold & Sullivan take over Hammers
19 Jan 10 |  West Ham
Top-flight finances stun Sullivan
11 Jan 10 |  Premier League

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