Angry Zola denies rift with Hammers bosses

GIANFRANCO ZOLA has shot down reports of a rift with the West Ham hierarchy and insists he enjoys a wonderful relationship with chief executive Scott Duxbury and technical director Gianluca Nani. The Hammers boss has cut an increasingly unhappy figure t

GIANFRANCO ZOLA has shot down reports of a rift with the West Ham hierarchy and insists he enjoys a "wonderful relationship" with chief executive Scott Duxbury and technical director Gianluca Nani.

The Hammers boss has cut an increasingly unhappy figure this season and held talks with Duxbury and Nani immediately after Sunday's 2-2 draw against 10-man Fulham - a result that left the team in the relegation zone.

But a West Ham spokesman confirmed that the meeting is believed to have been a matter of routine, although it did last longer than usual, and Zola insists he has no problems with the level of support provided from above.

This week, the West Ham manager was linked with a move to Serie A giants Napoli, along with technical director Gianluca Nani, who provided the Italians with two of their most coveted players in Fabiano Santacroce and Marek Hamsik.


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Napoli have just appointed Walter Mazzarri as their new boss, but rumours suggest that may be only a temporary measure.

It appears that the Italians did approach both Zola and Nani, but were told that any offer would be rejected.

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Zola also denies falling out with Nani, who is responsible for the club's transfer policy.

The West Ham boss said: "This is a total lie and who said this will have to be prepared to give us proof that I had a fight with Gianluca.

"My relationship with Gian-luca and Scott Duxbury is wonderful.

"I have always said that what we're doing here is something we do together.

"We are working very well together - as we said last year when we came together - and we are even closer."

Plans to bolster the attack in the summer were hit by the club's financial problems and links with key targets Eidur Gudjohnsen, Mancini and Luca Toni ultimately came to nothing.

Flop January signing Savio has been offloaded to Fiorentina, while new recruits Alessandro Diamanti and Luis Jimenez have so far failed to make a significant impression and Guillermo Franco has yet to figure.

Zola has been frustrated, but is adamant that everybody is singing from the same hymn sheet.

He said: "We have a strong spirit and nothing will stop us from trying to achieve success.

"The points are not coming in the way we want, but we will respond on the pitch.

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