Zola keeps focus on Hammers

BY foxsports • March 23, 2010

Gianfranco Zola admits there is no point trying to predict what West Ham's rivals will do - and wants to keep their destiny in their own hands.

Following defeat at Arsenal, who played the second half with 10 men, the Irons remain deep in trouble at the wrong end of the Premier League table after a fourth loss in a row.

While three of them have been against the title challengers, and were perhaps matches where anything would have been a bonus, another reverse on Tuesday night at home to fellow strugglers Wolves - a point and a place above West Ham - would heap more pressure on Zola, as co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan become increasingly concerned by the position of the east London club.

The Hammers, though, now have two home games which could well see them pull clear of danger, with Stoke coming to the Boleyn Ground on Saturday.

However, with difficult away trips to both Everton and Liverpool next month, sandwiched in between the visit of Sunderland and Wigan, Zola knows there is little margin for error.

The Italian accepts you can drive yourself mad by trying to second guess which other teams will pick up or drop points in what has been a campaign full of inconsistency at both ends of the table.

"You do look at the fixture list of all the teams around you, but you cannot really work that way because you never know what will happen," Zola said.

"On Saturday, I am sure there were not many people expecting Portsmouth to beat Hull or for Wolves to get a point at Aston Villa.

"You have to work out how to get your own points first, and then maybe look at the others."

Zola has demanded 100% focus on Tuesday night, irked by his players' lack of composure against the Gunners as they failed to make the extra man count in the final third.

"The Wolves game will be massive, a six-pointer," he declared. "We have to face the match with focus and concentration, but without doing silly things."

Zola continued: "I would have been enjoying it a bit more if we were in a different position, but that is football.

"You still like the competitive side of it.

"The team is not in a very good position, but I am enjoying finding ways to get the best of my players in difficult conditions."

West Ham hope to have captain Scott Parker back from a leg injury, while strikers Carlton Cole and Benni McCarthy are both pressing for a place in the starting XI.

Zola certainly has plenty of firepower at his disposal, having also brought in Egypt forward Mido and Brazilian Ilan during the January transfer window.

Mido believes the Hammers will soon see the best of him.

The 27-year-old former Tottenham and Middlesbrough striker, who had a spell at Egyptian club El Zamalek before heading to Upton Park, said: "I have been working hard to get fit and I feel much better than when I first came.

"For strikers sometimes you just need a goal to get more confidence. That is what I need now."