Hammers chief gives backing to Zola

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Football News

West Ham co-owner David Sullivan insists the club remain "100% behind" manager Gianfranco Zola as the Hammers battle for Barclays Premier League survival.

Tuesday's 3-1 home defeat to fellow relegation battlers Wolves - a fifth successive loss - left Zola's side just three points above the drop zone with seven games remaining.

Sullivan, along with fellow co-owner David Gold and vice-chairman Karren Brady, met the Italian after the match and has promised there will be no knee-jerk reaction from the board.

Quoted in The Guardian, Sullivan said: "We're 100% behind the manager. There will be no changes. We all had a chat with him after the game to see how he felt about things. We realise the performance was absolutely appalling.

"We can't play like that again, and I'm sure the manager will be making changes for Saturday [Stoke] and I'm sure it will be a much better performance."

He added: "That game is significant but it's one game out of seven. But, at the same time, I don't think bringing in an Iain Dowie mark II will make us a better team.

"I don't think [appointing an 'impact manager'] would be a major achievement."

Zola took up his post with the Hammers in September 2008 and signed a new contract to keep him at Upton Park until 2013 seven months later before leading the club to a ninth-place finish in the Premier League.

Sullivan is confident the Sardinian still has the desire to succeed in east London.

He said: "Very much so. He knows it was a bad performance and they can do better. And there will be changes at the weekend."

Asked whether Zola would leave at the end of the campaign, Sullivan replied: "I wouldn't like to comment on that. Who knows?

"He could look like a hero or a dunce. If he wins the next seven games he looks like the best manager of all time. If he loses the next seven games he's the worst manager of all time."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Premier League
Gianfranco Zola
West Ham United

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