Zola vows to hold on to Hammers stars

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West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola declared himself "very confident" of hanging on to his star players in the transfer window despite another week in which the likes of Craig Bellamy and Scott Parker have been linked with moves elsewhere.

Zola watched Bellamy shine in his side's 2-2 draw with Newcastle at St James' Park and sought to bring an end to speculation that he will be off-loaded as part of a rumoured Hammers fire sale.

Zola said: "I am very confident because this club is determined to improve and it's not true we want to sell our best players. The way we are playing and training this club deserves to be in a better position."

He added: "Being a footballer I know it's not easy when you have so many words around you to concentrate and perform, but they are outstanding and I would say their performances have gone even higher in this period."

And Zola reserved special praise for the performance of Bellamy who returned to his former club and ignored the boos of the home fans to net the Hammers' opener in the first half.

Zola added: "If you see the way Craig moves about the pitch it is fantastic. He is an exemplary professional and he has performed very, very well - not only him but everybody.

"Considering the way we played I am a bit disappointed we didn't win the game but we were playing against a very good team. But I think my team deserved a little bit more than that."

Newcastle assistant boss Chris Hughton praised Shay Given's contribution to his side's late draw and revealed there had been no new developments regarding his goalkeeper's future at the club.

Hughton said: "All we've seen of Shay is him coming in and training and conducting himself like he always has. As far as I know there has been no progress there."

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Scott Parker
Craig Bellamy
Premier League
Shay Given
Gianfranco Zola
West Ham United

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