Football

Zola stands firm over transfer talk

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West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola reiterated his desire to keep hold of all his players in the January transfer window after the late 2-1 win at home to Stoke.

Several of the Hammers squad have been linked with moves away from Upton Park, with Craig Bellamy reported to be attracting interest from Tottenham and goalkeeper Robert Green also being coveted by a number of other clubs.

Zola said: "The commitment is to improve this team so we'll try to keep all our players. Everybody at West Ham wants to take this team to a better level."

"It's not easy because we have very good players in our team and big clubs are looking for good players.

"There's also the financial thing but the club tells me it's not a problem."

West Ham's financial woes have been well documented and the sale of players would ease the pressure on owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, who wants to sell the club following huge losses as a result of the economic crisis.

Bellamy was suspended for the victory - the second in three days after the defeat of Portsmouth - but strike partner Carlton Cole made sure the Welshman's absence was not felt by scoring one to cancel out Abdoulaye Faye's opener and setting up an 86th-minute winner for Diego Tristan.

Stoke forward Ricardo Fuller had a less productive afternoon, however, as he was red-carded just after West Ham equalised for throwing a punch at team-mate Andy Griffin.

Manager Tony Pulis played down the incident but expressed his disappointment at the defeat, which means the Potters slipped into the relegation zone.

"It's nothing I haven't seen before," he said. "Football is a passionate game and Ric is a volatile player. But I'm not condoning what he's done. It's very disappointing. We've shot ourselves in the foot again just like we did against Manchester United."

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Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Portsmouth
Carlton Cole
Stoke City
Football
Craig Bellamy
Andy Griffin
Premier League
Abdoulaye Faye
Manchester United
Gianfranco Zola
Ricardo Fuller
Robert Green
West Ham United

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