Tony Cottee: I am sad for Gianfranco, but it is important a decision was made quickly

PUBLISHED: 12:39 13 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:00 05 October 2010

during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester City at Boleyn Ground on May 9, 2010 in London, England.

during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester City at Boleyn Ground on May 9, 2010 in London, England.

I am sad for Gianfranco Zola that he has been sacked, but the most important thing as far as the club is concerned is the decision was made quickly,"" says Tony Cottee

I am sad for Gianfranco Zola that he has been sacked, but the most important thing as far as the club is concerned is the decision was made quickly.

It would have done West Ham no favours at all if the situation had dragged on and it's pleasing that co-chairman David Sullivan has said that a new boss will be appointed within three weeks.

It gives the new manager a lot of time to bring the players and staff who he wants and allow him to stamp his personality on the squad.

I don't think anybody is particularly surprised by the decision to let Gianfranco go, especially if you consider he was not chosen by the new owners and the criticism Zola and the squad have received at the hands of Sullivan.

It is a shame things did not work out in the end, because I felt Zola did very well in difficult circumstances.

The financial problems and injuries had a major effect on results earlier in the season and the outspoken comments of Sullivan would not have helped.

It must have been hard for Zola to keep quiet when he and his squad were attacked by the co-chairman and I felt he handled the situation with great dignity and he refused to be drawn in to a slanging match.

A lot has gone on and for someone in their first job I don't believe he was given the support he should have and at times I believe what was said in the press hindered him. Perhaps there was too much water under the bridge.

His brief was to keep the club in the top flight and he has done that, but you could argue that this was down to the ineptitude of the teams that did go down rather then the excellence of West Ham.

Results have been poor and at times this season his team selection and tactics he has used have been questionable.

The future of his assistant Steve Clarke is less clear than that of Zola and it seems that for now he and coach Kevin Keen are staying at the club, although it's probable the new manager will want to bring his own men in.

Speculation will now turn to who should replace Zola and for it has to be Croatia boss Slaven Bilic.

He has done a superb job as their national coach and I wanted him to take charge at West Ham two years ago when the position was available.

He is the clear candidate who knows how the club works, is liked by the supporters and has the ambition to take the club up the league.

David Sullivan has said the club need five or six new players for the start of the next season and I agree that the squad does need strengthening.

West Ham's priority should be to bring in another left back and strengthen our wings because we lack width.

I am concerned however with everyone bar Scott Parker being available for transfer that players will leave.

For me it is essential the spine of the team remains, with the England players Carlton Cole, Matthew Upson and Robert Green staying at Upton Park.

It would be very hard to replace England internationals with players as good as or better so it makes no sense to sell them, while too much change would mean the squad will take longer to gel and that would have a negative effect on how West Ham start the season.

A draw against Manchester City is a decent result because they are a good side, although the point does mean we have finished the season with our lowest ever Premier League total.

It's not been a good season for the club and the end could not have come soon enough.

Alessandro Diamanti played a more central role in the first half and I believe that could be his best position.

I would describe the Italian as somewhat of a luxury player and he could give us the creativity in the middle of the park that West Ham have been desperate for.

He is technically gifted, but blows hot and cold too often.

It has been a bit of a struggle to find his best position.

He has played out wide, up front, just behind the forwards and now in the centre of the park and it is vital that the new boss does find his best position.

Diamanti cost the club £6million so we have to make the best use out of him and possibly build the team around him.

It was great to see Luis Boa Morte grab a goal in what was probably his last game for the club.

I was gutted for him when he picked up that knee injury in China at the beginning of pre-season and I know he has worked so hard to get himself fit and ready to play the game against City.

His contract is up and he is on very good money so I doubt he will be here next season, which is a shame.

He is a really nice bloke and always goes out of his way to say hello and have a chat and you could tell that it meant so much to him to get that goal, although I'm not too sure about those tattoos he has.

Tony Cottee was talking to Matt Diner

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