West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola hailed "a great goal and a great result" after Scott Parker's 25-yard thunderbolt sealed a vital 3-2 victory over Wigan.
Parkers' strike settled a roller-coaster clash at Upton Park and allowed the Hammers to take a giant stride towards Barclays Premier League safety. West Ham's goal difference means they cannot realistically be overtaken by Hull and if Burnley fail to win at Liverpool on Sunday then Zola's men are safe.
"It was a great finish and not an easy shot because he did not have an angle, but he hit it perfectly and it was a great goal and great result," said Zola. "I cannot celebrate yet. We want to stay focused and want to finish this championship with some more points."
Only four weeks ago, Zola left Upton Park considering his future in the job after West Ham had lost to Stoke, their sixth straight defeat.
Zola said he was persuaded not to leave by the fighting spirit of his players and he believes that togetherness is key to their turnaround.
"It was never my intention to leave this place in the situation we were in. Everybody was down and in those moments, feeling the players behind me and their fighting spirit helped," he said.
"I understand the fans were nervous like us and the way we started the game did not help, but they have been behind us and while we have not given them much satisfaction they have always been behind us and I'm grateful for that.
"[The players' reaction to the goal] was very gratifying. It shows that despite all the problems, there has been a compactness between players and staff. There has been a lot of stick but we have been together and that is the result, that was the meaning of the celebration."
Wigan took an early lead through a Jonathan Spector own goal and would have doubled it soon after had Robert Green not pulled off a brilliant save to tip James McCarthy's strike onto the bar.
It was a key moment as West Ham raced into the lead with goals from Ilan and Radoslav Kovac. Hugo Rodallega drew Wigan level again before Parker stepped up to seal the victory.
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