Diamanti has the boss in his fan club

ALESSANDRO DIAMANTI S strike on Saturday made it his sixth goal of the season to leave just one behind top scorer Carlton Cole, but manager Gianfranco Zola admits it is his whole game that impresses him most. It s not only the goal, his passing is also v

ALESSANDRO DIAMANTI'S strike on Saturday made it his sixth goal of the season to leave just one behind top scorer Carlton Cole, but manager Gianfranco Zola admits it is his whole game that impresses him most.

"It's not only the goal, his passing is also very good," stressed Zola after Sunday's unlucky 2-1 FA Cup defeat against Arsenal.

"In the second half he set up a couple of opportunities with his intelligent passing and he works very hard."

The Italian can certainly be frustrating at times. He loses the ball too often, shoots from too far out sometimes and likes to sulk when things don't go his way, but he has become a cult hero at Upton Park in much the same way that a certain Paolo Di Canio did.


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Zola tended to use him as an impact substitute earlier in the season, but the former Livorno player has started the last six matches, and but for a poor display at Spurs, has been as good as anyone in the side.

"He's one of the players that is becoming fundamental for the team," said the boss. "He's doing very well and is getting better and better so it's a positive note for us."

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Diamanti now has more goals than both David Di Michele and Diego Tristan managed last season, and that, coming from midfield.

Now he has to show more consistency to become a vital player for West Ham as they face the tough challenges that are to come in the next couple of months.

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