Zola defends his struggling strikers
WEST HAM boss Gianfranco Zola has hinted that the forward line is something he will look to address during the summer. Without Carlton Cole and Dean Ashton, the Hammers have struggled to score of late and though Zola was quick to praise the efforts of bot
WEST HAM boss Gianfranco Zola has hinted that the forward line is something he will look to address during the summer.
Without Carlton Cole and Dean Ashton, the Hammers have struggled to score of late and though Zola was quick to praise the efforts of both David Di Michele and Diego Tristan, it is clear that there is room for improvement.
The Italian striker has four goals to his name during this campaign, with the Spaniard grabbing only one, but Zola believes they have still played an important part.
"I think Di Michele has been very unlucky," said Zola. "He is playing very well and for the team he is fantastic. He is probably one of the most important players for us right now, but he is never lucky in front of goal."
The 33-year-old, who hasn't scored since January, had West Ham's best two chances against Spurs but wasted both as Heurelho Gomes saved them, while Tristan didn't have a shot in anger.
Zola, though, has a theory about the Spaniard, who like Di Michele, is 33, and has started the last three League games.
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"Let me say, Diego has done very well," said Zola. "Let me explain, this is just the third game where he has played 90 minutes, or more or less.
"Physically, when you do not play for such a long time, the first one back is very good, the second one is okay and the third one is always the bad one because it really hurts, so you have to be understanding."
All well and good, but Zola is still keen to improve things.
"Having said that, yes. That might be a part of the team where we look to improve, but don't forget that we have also played the whole season without Dean Ashton," he added.
"When he is back he is going to be a huge thing for this club."
Zola certainly has things to consider about his striking options. Di Michele and Tristan may have worked hard, but with both being 33, their best days are long gone.
Added to that, it is difficult to see how Cole and Ashton can play together, that is if the former Norwich City striker can ever get back to full fitness after another long lay-off.
It is the absence of Bellamy that has caused the problem for Zola. His replacement - Savio - is a left winger rather than a striker, as well as being simply a raw talent.
West Ham need to find a proper replacement for Bellamy if they are to thrive in the Premier League next season, and the problem with that, is that they are so difficult to find.