Go, Zo

  • by Staff Writer
  • Saturday, 20th September 2008

Gianfranco Zola says he is looking forward to his first game in charge of West Ham United.

The 42-year-old Italian was confirmed as United's 12th full-time manager last week, replacing Alan Curbishley whose 20-month reign ended a fortnight ago after he resigned in protest at the Board's interference in transfer policy.

Zola - whose appointment was widely questioned by many supporters unsure about giving the job to someone with so little managerial experience - admits that he will be on a steep learning curve, but remains confident that he can grow into the job.

"I'm a very young manager and haven't got a lot of experience," he told the BBC. "But on the other hand I've got the knowledge of the game, I know certain things and I've got ideas and enthusiasm. Hoepfully this part will take over the other part.

"But it's not just me here doing the job. I have very good staff with Steve Clarke, Kevin Keen and Antonio Pintos - and they will be very valuable, very important to the players."

Clarke, inparticular, is someone Zola is delighted to have on board:

"He [Clarke] can bring a lot here," he added. "He's a great manager, a great person and his experience, his knowledge about the game and the Premier League will be vital in this project so I am very pleased to have him here."

Having had a week to assess his new squad, Zola remains confident that the team can push on with a view to bettering last season's tenth place finish. However he refused to rule out the possibility of making new signings in the forthcoming January transfer window - whilst confirming that will have the Board's full backing if he chooses to do so.

"It's been good," he said. "We've spoken a lot and we've tried to see what we can improve. I have to say the players have responded very well. They are very keen to improve and to sort a few problems.

"It looks to me as if the players are to keen to play the way I want to play. The response this week has been very good and I think we can do a good job. If we are lucky enough not to have so many injuries and things go the right way then I think we can get to the point which everybody is happy about.

"I came to this club to work with this team, and also to work with the Board and Mr Nani. He knows that my duty is to do the best for the team. If we need to improve certain things I'm sure they will be backing me. I've no doubts about that. First of all we will working with these players and trying to improve the situation. Then, if something needs to be done, it will be done.

"As far as I'm concerned I've got so much to do on the pitch I wouldn't be able to look after the other things. That's the way I've been brought up, maybe for sombody else it's different. For me it's fine like that, I like working on the pitch trying to improve what I've got."

West Ham United vs Newcastle United kicks off at 3pm this afternoon.

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