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Zola on... Wigan

Filed: Saturday, 24th April 2010
By: Staff Writer

Mission accomplished, Gianfranco Zola was a happy man in front of a full house at tonight's post-match press conference...

Happy with Scott Parker's finish?

You can imagine how much... You could see from my jumping, it looked like I was a supporter! No, it was a great finish. It wasn't an easy shot either because he didn't have an angle for the ball, he was running straight at it - but he hit it perfectly. It was a great goal and a great result.

Parker fresher in the second half having missed two games?

Well I think maybe that helped. But somebody like Scott Parker, you want to have him all the time on the pitch. Certainly the fact that he had those games off might have helped give him something extra in the second half, yes.

An important save from Green just before your equaliser?

It was a key moment because going 2-0 down against Wigan would have been such a difficult situation for us considering all the pressure there was on this game. But that wasn't the case, the reaction was amazing and that is the difference you see. We were losing but we never let our heads go down.

Our first goal was a quality goal. Carlton Cole did a great job on the left and Ilan followed the pass and scored a very good goal. But the second goal, scoring before half time was the key as it allowed us to go on the pitch and re-organise ourselves.

Can you celebrate yet? You're not quite mathematically there...

No, I won't celebrate until tomorrow really because it's been that sort of season where everything happens - so no. At the moment we need to keep focused - and we also want to finish this championship with some more points.

Al the players embraced you after Scott Parker's goal. Was that gratifying?

Very gratifying because I think it shows that despite all the problems, between the players and the staff there has always been compactness; we've always been together. We've had a lot of stick, we've had a lot of problems but we've always been together.

It has been difficult, obviously, but we have dealt with it together and with this result we did it. I think that was the meaning of that [celebration].

Three or four weeks ago you were considering your future. Does this result justify staying?

It was never my intention to leave this place in the situation we were [in]. I was just like everybody, very down. But in those moments I felt the players [were] behind me and the fighting spirit in them has made a difference. Not only for me, but for them as well.

Thoughts on the fans over the last two home games?

I understand the fans were feeling the pressure. Like us [they] were nervous and the way we started the game today didn't help to release the pressure. But it's ok, they've been behind us, the home fans.

But I want to highlight the fans that come to the away matches. We haven't given them much satisfaction this year but they've always been there and they've always been the loudest, so from me they have a round of applause for that.

But I'm delighted for them all because they have a lot of passion, West Ham United supporters - so let's hope tomorrow is going to be a celebration.

How well do you think Green, Upson and Cole did their England cause today?

All of them did very well today. Robert Green, as I said, was outstanding with that save; Matthew Upson's performance was very good, very solid. Carlton, he hasn't scored but he made the first goal and was much better. I know Carlton Cole can do better, but he's worked for the team and I'm delighted with his performance.

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by Tell it how it is Charley
07:51AM 25th Apr 2010
''Still massive problems with defending, two very awful goals to concede. I think the thing that was clearly evident in this game is the clear lack of width. It's always straight down the middle, very easy to defend. I'm not sure about this 4-4-2 system that Zola plays especially with no natural width. The only remedy I can think of would be to move Fabert from right back onto the right side of midfield.

It's a good job we met a team who are equally as bad at defending. There were encouraging signs yesterday but who is ever in charge next season has one hell of a job especially if Parker and Green are sold.''

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