Zola pleased with progress
Hammers boss praises Duxbury and board
Last Updated: September 15, 2009 3:01pm
Zola: Has impressed at Upton Park
West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola has marked his first year in charge at Upton Park by praising chief executive Scott Duxbury for keeping his best players in the capital.
While the likes of Craig Bellamy and James Collins have been sold amid financial uncertainty in East London, Zola has been able to keep hold of England quartet Matthew Upson, Robert Green, Carlton Cole and Scott Parker.
A ninth placed finish last season after what was a slow start to Zola's reign cemented the Italian's reputation for being a manager of considerable promise.
And when reflecting on his 12 months at the Hammers helm he is confident there is now a solid platform from which to build.
"It's been very good and is an achievement, but I want to share it with the club," he said.
"(Technical director) Gianluca Nani and Scott Duxbury have been brilliant. They believed in the project and never gave up on the idea of keeping the best players and actually trying to improve the team.
"That has been really good and I appreciate that. I was lucky because I had fantastic people on my side. (First-team coach) Steve Clarke has been massive in this way, and also (first-team coach) Kevin Keen and (fitness coach) Antonio Pintus. They helped me a lot and we have built up a fantastic management team."
Meanwhile, Danny Gabbidon, who made his first Premier League start in 21 months during the defeat at Wigan last weekend, said: "It just felt great to be out there again. It was a tough game and I enjoyed every minute of it.
"It's been a while since I've played full-back in the Premier League, and obviously I was disappointed with the result, but it was nice to get a game under my belt."