Zola impressed by Cole
Gianfranco Zola feels West Ham may have grabbed a European place if Carlton Cole had been fit all season.
Last Updated: 24/05/09 8:38pm
Gianfranco Zola claimed that West Ham may have grabbed a European place if Carlton Cole had been fit all season following the final day victory over Middlesbrough.
Cole made an impressive return from a groin injury as the Hammers condemned Boro to relegation from the Premier League with a 2-1 win at Upton Park.
The striker grabbed the opening goal and Zola believes her would have helped West Ham win more points if he had played more regularly.
"He's made a difference for us at certain moments of the season and it is just a pity that we couldn't have him in the crucial moments," Zola said after seeing his side finish two points behind seventh-placed Fulham.
Meanwhile, Zola is hopeful Lucas Neill and Matthew Upson will stay at the club.
"In the next few days there will be meetings and something will happen, I'm sure it will be something positive," Zola said.
"Matthew looks happy here to me and he wants to stay so it shouldn't be a problem."
Zola also had words of sympathy for opposite number Gareth Southgate, who has been criticised following Boro's poor campaign.
The Italian said: "I'm sure he will bounce back straight away, he is a very good manager and a very positive person."