x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Zola's work is starting to pay off

Gianfranco Zola feels West Ham are slowly building something special at Upton Park after watching his side defeat Hull.

Gianfranco Zola had a tough start to his managerial career, but the tides have turned and West Ham are on the up.
Gianfranco Zola had a tough start to his managerial career, but the tides have turned and West Ham are on the up.

Gianfranco Zola feels West Ham are slowly building something special at Upton Park after watching his side extend their unbeaten run with a 2-0 win over fast-fading Hull. The in-form striker Carlton Cole struck again to take his tally to six in seven games as the Irons consolidated their position to eighth place with the hard work put in by Zola and his team now paying off. David Di Michele had put the home side ahead in the first half, after Mark Noble's penalty was earlier saved by the inspired Hull keeper Matt Duke. New signing Savio Nsereko came off the bench for the final few minutes ? and Zola feels such healthy competition for places can only be good for the future of the team showing few signs of missing the striker Craig Bellamy, who joined Manchester City. "The team is strong mentally, technically and physically and it is good as we are building something important here and you can smell the atmosphere here," said the West Ham manager. "I am very pleased to be involved in this. "We want to build an atmosphere with fair competition between each other with everybody looking forward to getting into this team. "They are enjoying themselves, and that is what we want here. "Every time they play, it is always the best game, which is the biggest complement you can give to a team." Zola could further strengthen his squad with Spartak Moscow defender Radoslav Kovac. "We missed a player like [Hayden] Mullins, who was an important player for us. We will try to replace him, but we will see. It might happen or it might not happen," he added. "I am very happy about the team that I have got and I am sure we are going to do well anyway." The Hammers were good value for their victory last night, which could have been by a greater margin but for the efforts of Duke ? playing his first Premier League game of the campaign. "In the first half, we could have had three or four goals, and it was important we finished them off," Zola said. "They were focused and determined to be winners, which made the difference." While West Ham look to build on their momentum, for Tigers boss Phil Brown ? who gave new £5million (Dh26.1m) midfielder Jimmy Bullard a debut in the second half ? his hard work goes on to ensure the efforts of a fine opening to the campaign do not end in disaster. Hull have now lost six straight Premier League matches, and are in danger of being sucked down the table. "West Ham were playing with a lot of confidence and their two strikers played a massive part in the downfall of our side," Brown said. "But Matt Duke stepped up to the plate and put in a fantastic performance, and we also played some good football when Jimmy Bullard came on. "The belief and trust which is required was there when he came on, but unfortunately then we were chasing a 2-0 deficit." *PA Sport