Gianfranco Zola admits he is risking the brilliant reputation established at Chelsea by agreeing to become West Ham boss.

One of the most successful foreign imports to have played in England, Zola's appointment has excited Hammers fans - and he hopes to match expectation.

"In terms of difficulty this is much bigger than at Chelsea. I like a challenge, it's something which gives me a spark," he said. "I know this is a big risk. I'm putting myself on the line completely."

Zola begins work on Monday and will oversee his first game in charge when Newcastle visit Upton Park the following Saturday.

He added: "All the good things I've done are on the line as I'm joining another club, which is away from Chelsea but still in the Premier League. But I like a challenge.

"The bigger the job, the more responsibility and attention you get so every mistake is going to be in the spotlight.

"I'm not afraid of making mistakes. I became a better footballer by missing penalties and crying after that but it's all part of the process of becoming better."

Zola believes his work ethic will enable him to make a successful transition to management when many other great players have failed the switch in the past.

"When you stop playing maybe you like to sit down and relax," he said.

"This is a different job when you are a manager you have to work even harder than before and not everyone is willing to do that. I don't think that's my case, I'll work hard."

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