Football

Zola relieved to keep clean sheet

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Gianfranco Zola celebrated West ham's first clean sheet in 25 Barclays Premier League matches after a goalless draw at home to Portsmouth and admitted it had done a lot for the confidence of his defenders.

Opposite number Tony Adams bemoaned his side's lack of a finishing touch as striker Jermain Defoe spurned three chances.

Zola admitted: "That point means a lot to us - especially for the defenders' confidence." But Pompey boss Adams insisted: "On another day Jermain Defoe would have had a hat-trick and we would have taken three points. If anything he tried too hard to score."

Adams, who reported that midfield ace Lassana Diarra had "badly sprained an ankle" causing him to come off after only 19 minutes, added: "We made the better chances in the second half and although it's good to get a point here I'd certainly be more pleased with all three.

"We've done well because we were without Sol Campbell and Niko Kranjcar and then lost Diarra, although it was an entire accident.

"The big shame is that we've got to send Lassana over to France for their friendly international next week. We are not allowed to pull him out but hopefully the French doctors will see the extent of the injury.

"I'm not happy he's got to get on a plane with it, though."

Zola saw West Ham fans in the 32,328 crowd walking out long before the end as his side battered Pompey's defence in the last 25 minutes but he admitted: "I'll take a point from this match because it was really, really tough.

"The players gave everything and I couldn't ask for more. We tried to attack and we made changes and tried again but Portsmouth were very solid and didn't give us anything.

"We really tried but quite honestly I didn't expect Portsmouth to be that good at the back. We also needed some good saves from our goalkeeper (Robert Green) when they came back at us and in the end it was a good result considering we have lost five of the previous six games."

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Topics:
Portsmouth
Internationals
Niko Kranjcar
Football
Sol Campbell
Jermain Defoe
Gianfranco Zola
Tony Adams
Lassana Diarra
Robert Green

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