Diamanti commends will to win

Striker hails squad solidarity

Diamanti: Goal celebrations

West Ham striker Alessandro Diamanti believes the players' will to win was evident against Birmingham on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old put in a superb goalscoring performance at Upton Park against the Midlands club, helping his side to a crucial three points.

Soon after converting an unstoppable free-kick, he sprinted towards the dugout to share the moment with under-fire boss Gianfranco Zola.

Diamanti says the players were more determined than ever to prove their critics wrong after a poor run of results saw them drop dangerously close to the foot of the table.

Heaping praise on the squad performance, he said: "We had so much will to win the game.

Hard work

"We had been trying hard to win the last few games. It didn't happen but there was so much anger in the team to win this one.

"Like every other player here, we are all behind the manager because he works very hard, he's a top guy and he's the one who always takes responsibility.

"Even when we don't play well he's always there, encouraging us. I was very pleased to win and, when I scored, my first thought was for my boss."

Before the game, co-owner David Sullivan made an attacking statement criticising the "overpaid" players and "nice" manager.

His comments appeared only to unite the squad, as Carlton Cole went on to add to Diamanti's opener to notch a crucial three points and steer the Hammers out of the bottom three.

Desired effect

"Sometimes things are said to provoke a reaction," said midfielder Scott Parker.

"The only thing we could do was react on the pitch and we did that. Maybe it was what they call reverse psychology."

Asked his reaction to Diamanti's celebrations, Zola said: "I appreciated the gesture very much.

"It is important the crowd sees there is a good working group here and sense of unity."