Behrami blames Zola sacking
Ex-Hammers winger sure Italian would have turned things round
Last Updated: June 3, 2011 6:34pm
Behrami: Feels a big personality like Allardyce is what West Ham need
Valon Behrami believes West Ham's recent decline began the day they sacked Gianfranco Zola.
Co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold took charge midway through the 2009/10 season and sacked Zola at the end of the campaign after narrowly avoiding the drop.
They replaced him with Avram Grant but the Israeli was sacked last month after the Hammers suffered relegation from the Premier League, finishing six points adrift at the bottom.
Sullivan and Gold have this week appointed Sam Allardyce as Grant's successor but some Hammers fans feel his brand of football is at odds with the traditional West Ham philosophy.
Behrami, who played under both Zola and Grant before quitting Upton Park for Fiorentina in January, is back in England to prepare for Switzerland's Euro 2012 qualifier at Wembley on Saturday.
"We felt that, with him (Zola) as manager, we could improve. I know that is how I felt."
Valon Behrami Quotes of the week
He feels Zola could have done good things at the club given more time and the Swiss winger has admitted he would not want to play under Allardyce.
"I don't like to play that way," said Behrami.
"I like to play like Zola wants to play, every time with the ball, every time trying to be attractive as well.
"They sacked him for no reason. We'd had a difficult season but we secured safety two or three games before the end of the season, even though we'd had a lot of difficult situations with the club and the takeover.
"All the team was with him. We felt that, with him as manager, we could improve. I know that is how I felt.
"So the players were very, very sad when they sacked him and the first day with the new manager was difficult to accept."
Grant certainly never managed to win over Behrami as he believes the ex-Chelsea and Portsmouth boss did little to spark a turnaround.
"It was a time when he had to change something, he had to bring something new. But he didn't give a thing," added the 26-year-old.
"We tried to do a good job but what the players needed was a reaction. We needed something new and we didn't feel that we got it. We felt that the situation was the same, going down.
"I respect what the owners say, though, because they put their money in," Behrami added.
"They can do whatever they want. They have to see also, though, how the players react. What can happen is the team get upset and down."
Yet despite not being a fan of Allardyce's tactics, Behrami has backed the former Bolton boss to lead West Ham back into the top flight.
"Allardyce is a good manager, a manager with personality - strong," he said.
"This is what West Ham need to get a good reaction. A big reaction.
"Avram was a good person but he left the situation to drift along too easily."