Zola promises better times next season
SATURDAY S defeat at Everton finally spelt the end of West Ham s European hopes for this season, but manager Gianfranco Zola believes that his team can only get better, writes DAVE EVANS. The loss of Carlton Cole and Scott Parker in the last month of the
SATURDAY'S defeat at Everton finally spelt the end of West Ham's European hopes for this season, but manager Gianfranco Zola believes that his team can only get better, writes DAVE EVANS.
The loss of Carlton Cole and Scott Parker in the last month of the season, proved too much to overcome, but with the likes of Junior Stanislas and Josh Payne grabbing their chances, there have certainly been compensations.
"We have a very young team and the players next year will have more experience and that will improve the side. I'm absolutely positve that we're going to be much better next year," said the West Ham boss.
"I have got a rough idea as to what my squad's going to look like, but it's too early to say exactly because things might still go a certain way."
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Goals are the thing that Zola will be looking at, and with that in mind, he can't wait to get a certain England striker back fit and raring to go.
"We're going to have Dean Ashton back and that'll be a big, big thing for us, and, I repeat, all the players are going to be better next year," he added.
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Zola's ambition when he arrived at Upton Park was for West Ham to finish higher than they did last season, and despite not making Europe, a win against Middlesbrough on Sunday, will make sure they beat last term's 10th place.
"I have told the players that I realise they are very disappointed, but I'm even more disappointed than them because we could have got seventh place at a certain point," he said.
"It doesn't take anything away from the season they have played.
"I'm pleased and proud to be their manager. When you consider all the problems and circumstances that there were around the club - plus all the important injuries we've picked up in the crucial moments of the season - they've done fantastic.
"I've promised them that we'll be much better next season. I really do believe that."
So do the West Ham fans, so perhaps one of the biggest problems that Zola will face next season is living up to their high expectations which could be beyond their capabilities.