Tony Cottee: Zola is right to stay at West Ham

I am happy that Gianfranco Zola is staying as manager and I think pressing the panic button is the wrong thing to do at this time,"" says Tony Cottee

I am happy that Gianfranco Zola is staying as manager and I think pressing the panic button is the wrong thing to do at this time.

I believe we will stay up with Zola in charge and I think it is a dangerous game to play.

To sack someone this late in the day and give the new manager six games in charge is a huge risk and I don't think too many would be tempted to take the job on.

I believe there are three worse teams than us in the division and people will write us off, because we have to travel to Anfield and Goodison Park, but we still have very winnable games at home to Sunderland and Wigan, while Fulham away is a game we could get points from.

At the moment confidence will be rock-bottom and the first thing the boss has to do is raise the spirit.

What he also needs to do is to sit down with Steve Clarke and Kevin Keen and find out which is their best team and stick with it. Keeping a settled team worked two years ago when we won seven of our last 10 games to stay up.

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Zola has been chopping and changing pretty much every game, trying to find that right combination, but I think now the time has come for him to pick his best 11 if available for the rest of the games and challenge them to get us out of this mess.

Of course the manager has been getting most of the blame for the predicament we are in, but his assistant Clarke and coach Keen will be hurting just as much as he is.

They want to do well for the club and for their mate Zola, while the players will feel guilt for the pressure they have put their boss under through their performances.

That is why I don't have a massive problem with Zola giving the players three days off, it gives them time to de-stress and take their mind off the problem, because it has been without doubt a very tough stressful month for those involved.

I believe the rest will do the team some good for the remaining games.

Football is a mentally draining game and I know people will say that they are professionals earning a lot of money and should perform every week, and I agree to some extent, but you have to remember they are human.

If it works it will make him look like a managerial genius, but if it backfires and we get hammered by Everton, that pressure will only increase.

I have hope for Sunday, not least because I'm travelling 250 miles to go there and watch the game, but it is important we give a positive performance.

A draw would be a great result for us, while a poor performance and a heavy defeat will deflate everyone.

It will be tough because Everton are such a competitive unit who score goals from all over the park.

Louis Saha is an excellent finisher, while I am a huge admirer of their manager David Moyes, who has done a superb job at the club.

His team always put in 100 per cent, just like he does and I am not surprised by their excellent run of form, so we will need spirit and fight to get anything from the game.

It is achievable, but we have to believe it is.

I received the e-mail sent out by co-owner David Sullivan a day after the Wolves match and my initial reaction was 'what's he going on about?'

I just don't understand why he sent that to West Ham fans and then put it on the website, to me it made no sense.

How can it be helpful to the team and their chances of staying up by describing them as 'pathetic'? And I am fed up with seeing the new owners talking in the media.

Degrading the players will not exactly help the situation and the comments made a bad situation worse.

It is bad enough he has announced that they will have to take a pay cut at the end of the season and now he's calling them pathetic.

That's not exactly great inspiration is it?

The players need their confidence built-up after six defeats in a row and that will not help in the slightest.

I don't think I saw Randy Lerner talk in the press after Aston Villa's 7-1 defeat to Chelsea mid week, in fact I don't think I've ever heard him speak.

In my opinion chairmen of football clubs should be seen and not heard. Leave the football matters to the manager and let him get on with his job.

That is what Learner has done and look at the huge steps they have made with him running the club.

Football is not about owners of football clubs, it is about managers and players.

He is a young boss who needs all the help he can get to keep the club in the division.


Tony Cottee was talking to Matt Diner