West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola was delighted to see his side earn a Barclays Premier League lifeline with a 1-0 victory over Sunderland at Upton Park. But with a trip to Liverpool next weekend followed by a home clash with fellow strugglers Wigan, the Italian has warned there is hard work still to come.
The Hammers' first win in eight games, secured by a second-half goal from Brazilian striker Ilan, edged them four points above the relegation zone. Yet Zola knows there is plenty to play for.
"We are very happy for this - it was such a tough game for us. I am pleased because the players gave everything," said Zola.
"I am absolutely delighted for the boys because I know what they have been through all this time. The result we got last week (2-2 draw at Everton) gave everybody a big boost. This is much better but it is still too early to celebrate. We are not there yet.''
One more win would move West Ham onto 34 points and Zola believes that could be enough to secure top-flight survival - but he will not count on it.
"It might be enough but we will try to get more. This is not a championship where you can say it is over. Nobody was expecting Burnley to beat Hull City," said Zola. "We will stay on our toes."
Ilan is fast emerging as West Ham's unlikely saviour, having followed up his equaliser against Everton last weekend with a vital strike here.
The 29-year-old, who was making only his second start for the club, latched onto Carlton Cole's downward header to earn West Ham a vital three points.
"Ilan has done very well," said Zola. "Last week he came on and he scored a very important goal for us and he has made his way through to the team. That goal he scored here was unbelievable.
"I am delighted. He is becoming very effective for us. He is making a big difference but I don't think we have seen the best of him because he is still adapting his football. But the understanding he has with Carlton Cole is good."
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