Thursday 22 February 2018

Zola: West Ham can be inspired by Sullivan's criticism

Gianfranco Zola struggled as manager of West Ham. Photo: Getty Images
Gianfranco Zola struggled as manager of West Ham. Photo: Getty Images

John Ley

Gianfranco Zola, the West Ham manager, has admitted that comments posted in an open letter to fans by joint chairman David Sullivan will be used to motivate his team ahead of tomorrow’s crucial visit of Stoke.

Sullivan described the performance in West Ham's 3-1 defeat by Wolves as ‘pathetic’ and a ‘shambles’.

Zola responded by saying: "The good thing is that I do not need to motivate the players with a team talk tomorrow, because they have already had one.

"I was very disappointed and he knows that,” added Zola of the comments. "It is not pleasant. I have not spoken to him directly, and just found about the statement today.

"The players are professional and their commitment towards the club is total, so I do not question that and am sure tomorrow they will be fine.

"We are professionals and will be very professional, will perform and give everything we have to give.”

And Zola called a halt to the criticisms and added: "Now is the moment to stop talking and play football. I do not understand all this nonsense.

"Let's put in a performance and make it enjoyable for everyone, which is why I am here and what I am being paid for.

"The owner is entitled to have his opinion and express it, because he is the owner.

"However, when you use those words, you have to be very careful how you use them because sometimes they can be painful and cause more damage than you can imagine, and that could be the case.

"I will keep my focus on my job, I have a responsibility and will turn it into a positive thing for me and players. I will keep my head down and focus on the job."

West Ham are without Herita Ilunga, James Tomkins and Guillermo Franco for the visit of Stoke and Zola accepts the important of a game his side cannot afford tolose after five straight defeats.

"We are a good team, but going through a difficult moment and we need to make sure we show everyone we are a good team and are going to try to show that tomorrow.

"I am not happy with the situation, the position we are in, but everybody is trying very hard.

"We care and are trying to find focus in a difficult position to do a good job for the club.

"I do not think the players are not passionate, against Wolves they were trying to sort the situation out more like an individual.

"That is my mistake - we have worked on that, and hopefully they will fight like a team.”

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