Thursday, September 11, 2008

Zola promises exciting times at West Ham

LONDON: Gianfranco Zola said he wanted to excite West Ham United's fans with an attacking game as he prepared to be named manager of the east London club.

"This is an opportunity in the Premier League and an opportunity I didn't expect, but it's an opportunity I can't turn down," the Italian said.

The 42-year-old former Chelsea and Italy forward is expected to be appointed by West Ham on Wednesday, according to British media reports.

"I only know one way to play - on the floor, attacking football, the way things should be done," said the Italian.

"I want to excite people, that's why we play isn't it? This is a new era, a new chapter for me. I was an offensive player who only knew one way to play. That's how my teams will always play."

Asked what reaction he expected from fans of West Ham and Chelsea, he said: "I know there is a rivalry between Chelsea and West Ham, but that is not a problem. My playing career is in my past.

"This is a new adventure for me. I spent seven years at Chelsea and they were seven of the best years of my career.

"I loved playing there, but the fans must understand that I have a new career now and my playing career is in the past."

Zola has been working with former Chelsea teammate Pierluigi Casiraghi in charge of the Italy Under-21 team.

Zola flew to Italy on Tuesday after his side drew 1-1 in Croatia to win their European Championship qualifying group.

"The hardest thing was to say goodbye to those players in the dressing room," Zola said.

"Everything has to be agreed with the federation, but I am confident that it will be resolved when I return to Italy. There are still talks, but I am sure they will go well."

Source: China Daily/Agencies

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