herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Survival is in our own hands: Zola

Gianfranco Zola admits there is no point trying to predict what West Ham's relegation rivals will do -- and wants his players to keep 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 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 tonight 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.



Danger

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.

"You do look at the fixture list, but you cannot really work that way," 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 100pc focus tonight.

"The Wolves game is a six-pointer," he declared. "We have to focus and not do silly things."

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

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