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Bellamy exit will not derail season, says Zola

PUBLISHED: 12:10 22 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:59 05 October 2010

Gianfranco Zola insists West Ham are strong enough to overcome the loss of Craig Bellamy after the wantaway striker finally completed his £14m switch to Manchester City

By JONATHAN CLEGG

Gianfranco Zola insists that West Ham are strong enough to overcome the loss of Craig Bellamy after the wantaway striker finally completed his £14m switch to Manchester City.

Bellamy was left out of the squad for last weekend's 3-1 win over Fulham after telling Hammers boss Zola that he wanted to leave the club following a series of enquiries from mega-rich City and rivals Spurs.

West Ham had knocked back six separate bids for the 29-year-old before agreeing a £14m deal with City on Monday as Bellamy quit the club just two years after moving to Upton Park in a £7.5m move from Liverpool.

Zola had attempted to convince the Wales international to remain with the Hammers until the summer.

But after failing to persuade Bellamy to stay, the Italian was adamant that the striker's departure would not disrupt his team's climb up the Premier League table.

"What we're doing here is achieving results - not because of one player or two players, but because we are a team," said Zola.

"We are thinking, acting and playing as a team and that won't change. The players have shown this and they are determined to be successful with whatever we've got. The whole team look very, very comfortable on the pitch. They are playing as a team and there's always an individual or two that changes the game."

David Di Michele replaced Bellamy in the starting line-up against Fulham and netted West Ham's opening goal following a howler from former Hammer John Pantsil.

But it was Carlton Cole who most impressed in Bellamy's absence, winning the penalty from which Mark Noble gave the home side a second-half lead and later bagging his fifth goal in as many games to wrap up the victory.

The in-form target man dominated Arsenal target Brede Hangeland in front of the watching England manager Fabio Capello and Zola later heaped praise on Cole for the latest in a series of top displays.

He said: "In the last four or five games he's made a difference. I'm pleased for him because every training session we are working out new ways to improve him and his attitude is excellent. That is what is making the difference.


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