| 8.6°C Dublin

Zola admits he has to Hammer out results

Gianfranco Zola accepts he will be under scrutiny from the new owners as West Ham begin a new era against Portsmouth.

The relegation-haunted Hammers face the bottom club in the Premier League at Fratton Park tonight knowing victory is vital if they are to improve their own chances of staying in the top flight.

A win will also help coach Zola's task of pleasing the club's new owners David Sullivan and David Gold, the former Birmingham supremos having already pledged to give Zola cash for new players, particularly a striker, before the end of the January transfer window.

The takeover was music to Zola's ears after the Italian had struggled to keep the side out of the relegation zone under CB Holdings -- their previous cash-strapped Icelandic owners.

But he is well aware all eyes will be on him as the Sullivan and Gold era kicks off on the south coast.

"I know that, in my position, I have to produce good results," said Zola.



DEMANDING

"The new owners are going to be very demanding on the team and on me, but I like that.

"It's a challenge and I accept it. It's been good that they said they have faith in my job and my staff. That's a very good start.

"Now it's down to me to make that first trust a strong one. I like it.

"It's important that you have an owner, somebody you can report to in good and bad situations.

"They will make everyone aware that we have to perform for this club."

Blackburn last night announced that West Ham have made a written offer for striker Benni McCarthy although Zola was cagey about any transfer targets as the end of the January transfer window approaches.