Zola guided the Hammers to ninth in the Premier League last season
West Ham co-owner David Sullivan has made an emotional plea for Hammers fans to get behind their relegation-haunted team when they face Stoke on Saturday.
Gianfranco Zola's side remain only three points off the drop zone after a 3-1 loss at home to Wolves on Tuesday.
In a letter to fans, Sullivan said: "We need you to support us, to forgive us the result against Wolves and to remember what this great club is about.
"With your help we can get out of this and regroup in the summer."
However, in the midst of his rallying call, Sullivan's statement on the club's website also contained numerous stinging criticisms of Zola's team in the wake of the defeat by Wolves.
"I was as angry and upset as every supporter in the stadium at the disorganised way we played, allowing Wolves too much space so that they looked more like Manchester United," the statement read.
"This was the culmination of five defeats in a row, including an appalling performance against Bolton.
"We have a few very talented players in our team, but it is a very unbalanced squad. Individually, we have some very good players, but this is not being converted into a good team performance.
"Nobody at the club should delude themselves that we are a good team. The table at this stage of the season does not lie."
In what was expected to be a much tighter encounter at Upton Park on Tuesday, Wolves, also battling the drop, outplayed a lifeless West Ham side as goals from Kevin Doyle, Ronald Zubar and Matthew Jarvis put Mick McCarthy's team 3-0 up after barely an hour.
Sullivan was in the stands at Upton Park for the Wolves loss
Guillermo Franco notched a late consolation for the home team, but by then thousands of home fans had headed for the exit, while others vented their fury at Zola with chants of "You're getting sacked in the morning".
Sullivan, though, insists that he and fellow co-owner David Gold will resist the temptation to install a new manager, as fellow strugglers Hull have done in replacing Phil Brown with Iain Dowie.
"I don't think bringing in an Iain Dowie mark II will make us a better team," said former Birmingham owner Sullivan before Thursday's statement.
Instead, Sullivan hopes that a sense of unity amongst the Hammers' faithful can have a positive effect on Zola's beleaguered charges.
"Saturday may be tense, on Saturday you will feel anxious and, at times, unsettled. I ask that we try not to transmit that on to the field, that we get behind the team and provide them with a platform. The rest is up to them," his statement continued.
The impassioned plea also attempted to invoke the club's history with references to past Upton Park favourites such as Bobby Moore, Sir Geoff Hurst, Sir Trevor Brooking and Frank McAvennie.
"Now we need this team to show their quality. Now we need this team to show their talent, their desire, their passion, their dare," it read. "Now we need new heroes."
Former Chelsea star Zola was appointed as Alan Curbishley's successor in September 2008 and signed a new contract to keep him at the club until 2013, seven months later before leading the club to a ninth place league finish.
Failure to beat the drop could, of course, see Zola exit the east London club but Sullivan has refused to speculate on what may happen beyond the end of this campaign.
Asked whether Zola would leave at the end of the season, he replied: "I wouldn't like to comment on that. Who knows?
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