Zola slams the Boa boo-boys

WEST HAM boss Gianfranco Zola has criticised the fans that booed winger Luis Boa Morte off the field at Upton Park on Saturday, writes DAVE EVANS. The 31-year-old former Portuguese international winger came in for the injured Valon Behrami against Middles

WEST HAM boss Gianfranco Zola has criticised the fans that booed winger Luis Boa Morte off the field at Upton Park on Saturday, writes DAVE EVANS.

The 31-year-old former Portuguese international winger came in for the injured Valon Behrami against Middlesbrough in Saturday's FA Cup tie, only to be forced off with a groin strain just five minutes into the second half.

His departure was greeted with boos from some in the stands and it is a state of affairs that the little Italian just cannot comprehend.

"I don't understand that," he exclaimed. "Luis Boa Morte has been a fantastic professional. Every time he's played he has done his job and he's incredible in the dressing room."


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The former Arsenal man (pictured right) has now made 70 appearances in claret and blue since his �5million move from Fulham - scoring just one goal along the way.

Saturday saw him battling hard and even delivering one excellent cross, but all in all it was another frustrating day for the winger, and one for the fans too as they watched Savio warming up on the sidelines.

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Zola though, sees something in Boa Morte that not too many others can.

"He's one of the players that every manager would like to have!" he said, surprisingly.

"I don't think he deserves it that the supporters are picking on him, it makes it more difficult for him to perform. In the first half he did well, but you could see as soon as he made any little mistakes they picked on him.

"For me, honestly, he has been fantastic."

The Portuguese player, who has 26 international caps to his name, turned down a move to Hull City during the January transfer window and the West Ham boss believes that shows how much he loves the club.

"It is proof that he cares about what he's doing over here," insisted Zola. "He wanted to stay and prove that he could be useful for the cause and for that he has all my respect."

Boa Morte has certainly not been as bad this season as many of the supporters have painted him, but it does seem odd that Zola has shown faith in a player that has failed to deliver on so many occasions in the time he has been here.

The manager will not be able to make a decision about whether to play him or not in the near future. He is likely to be out for at least three weeks after his injury on Saturday, with Behrami expected to return in time for the trip to Bolton.

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