Hammers not safe yet – Zola

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. But with a trip to Liverpool next weekend followed

by a home clash with fellow strugglers Wigan, Zola warned there is

hard work still to come. “We are very happy for today. 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 on to 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 today,”

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 today. 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 today 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.” West Ham’s victory

confirmed Portsmouth’s relegation. “I am sorry for them and I feel

for Avram Grant and his players but that is part of football. I

have to think about my life and still I am not safe,” said Zola.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce was disappointed his side conceded

to a Cole flick-on because he had warned his players at half-time

that West Ham’s only route of attack was the long ball. “It is a

bad goal to give away, a horrible goal. We had just spoken about it

at half-time. For me, their only real threat was a Carlton Cole

flick-on and somebody running through,” said Bruce. “I thought in

the first half we were comfortable. Lee Cattermole missed by a

whisker and if Darren Bent had stayed on his feet when he was clean

through it would have been a goal. “It wasn’t our day but we have

to be honest, there are too many days like that when we come away

from home. “That sums our season up, where we have done enough to

get more than a point but have come away with nothing. We had a

great attitude for it and should have got something out of the

game.” Bruce was more furious at the performance of referee Mike

Jones. Sunderland were angry at not being allowed to take a quick

free-kick after Guillermo Franco’s late strike had been ruled out

for handball. The referee had ruled it would be unsporting given

West Ham still had players off the field celebrating. Bruce also

felt Sunderland deserved a second-half penalty after a challenge

from Julien Faubert on Bent, although Zola had the same complaint

following a Craig Gordon challenge on Cole. “Some of the stuff he

came up with was total dross,” said Bruce. “His performance was

poor, which was summed up at the end.”