Premier League

Upson happy to stay

Hammers defender hails Zola

Upson: Enjoying life at West Ham

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Matthew Upson has expressed his delight after West Ham managed to keep their best players in January.

Craig Bellamy moved to Manchester City during the transfer window and Julien Faubert joined Real Madrid on loan but a number of others, including Upson, had been tipped to exit the club.

Gianfranco Zola fought to hold onto his key men and was even able to strengthen his squad by capturing Savio and Radoslav Kovac.

Upson insists he never came close to leaving Upton Park and is now looking forward to a successful end to the season with the Hammers.

"The person who has the biggest headache in the transfer window is undoubtedly the manager," Upson told the Evening Standard.

"He may have to make a decision on a player who wants to leave but he doesn't want to let go. As far as I am concerned there was never, ever a genuine enquiry. There were quite a few rumours but as far as I am aware, that's all they were.

"I have to say the club have done a fantastic job in what could have been a difficult month.

"They've done the right thing and maintained their ambition on the pitch, which is something I was concerned about back in December.

"The one player who's gone was out of their control really. It was a situation where the player (Bellamy) took things into his own hands."

Enjoyable

West Ham have climbed to eighth in the Premier League table on the back of a six-match unbeaten run and Upson believes Zola deserves great credit for the improvement.

He said: "The reason why things are so enjoyable is because we're doing well and that's down to the job the new management team are doing.

"People who know about West Ham and who have watched us regularly will have noticed that we're playing with a bit more positivity and confidence and in a fashion which is more attractive to watch.

"They've been drilling these messages into us from the day they arrived."

Progress

Upson has been pleased with his form this season but hopes he can continue to progress and also fulfil his England ambitions.

He added: "This is a huge 18 months for me, both on a domestic and international level. The 2010 World Cup, for example, is something which I'm looking forward to every day and preparing myself for.

"The football I'm playing every week for West Ham is no less important.

"I'm very near my peak now. I still think there are improvements to be made but my form this season has been very consistent, which is a sign I'm more mature as a player and a person."