Fitness holds key to Zola blueprint

PUBLISHED: 14:40 02 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:40 05 October 2010

By JONATHAN CLEGG GIANFRANCO ZOLA has revealed that his vision of an entertaining, attacking West Ham side is beginning to take shape – because his players are finally getting in shape. The Hammers manager led the club to a second successive victory at Fu


GIANFRANCO ZOLA has revealed that his vision of an entertaining, attacking West Ham side is beginning to take shape - because his players are finally getting in shape.

The Hammers manager led the club to a second successive victory at Fulham last weekend despite watching his side outplayed for long periods at Craven Cottage.

Yet Zola believes that the squad will start to produce the fluent football he has promised to deliver as their fitness levels continue to improve.

The Italian was critical of his team's physical condition when he arrived at Upton Park and immediately bolstered his backroom staff by recruiting Juventus fitness guru Antonio Pintus, who had previously worked with Zola at Chelsea.

The West Ham boss has since put his players through a series of gruelling training sessions and is convinced that individual performances will improve as their energy levels increase.

"I've been working with this team for two weeks," Zola said. "Obviously they know what kind of football I want to play and they have responded very well to my demands.

"[We have had] 15 days of training sessions and I've tried to work my way - I know it's very demanding physically and I'm sure they haven't yet got all the benefit of it.

"In a few weeks time it's going to be much better.

"Consider also games like this, winning away games like this will give them a lot of confidence in what we are doing, so they will be much better."

Zola singled out Mark Noble as one player whose overall fitness needs to improve - but has backed the midfielder to become a major force in the Premier League as his strength increases.

The homegrown Hammer caught the eye against Fulham and his lofted pass sent Matthew Etherington clear to add West Ham's crucial second goal before half-time.

With England coach Fabio Capello in attendance, Zola admitted that Under-21 international Noble could graduate to the full national set-up if he continues to make progress in the coming months.

He said: "It is very good for him [that the England manager was there on Saturday]. He's played well.

"Mark is still not at his best because he is one of the players that physically has struggled a little bit more than the others.

"But he's going to be much better in the next few games I can assure you.

"The players will have a couple of days off because they need it now - they are going to be working very hard next week and they need a rest.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Latest East London Sports News

Yesterday, 11:00

West Ham United will kick-off their preparations for the 2020/21 Premier League season next week by heading to Scotland for a training camp, before returning home to begin a series of pre-season friendlies.

Yesterday, 07:00

Standing up to the stumps, Essex wicketkeeper Adam Wheater has a unique insight into the mysteries of Simon Harmer’s prolific wicket-taking prowess.

Thu, 16:00

West Ham United Women’s captain Gilly Flaherty says Women’s Super League players urged the Football Association to cancel the 2019/20 season due to fears over their professional futures amid the coronavirus pandemic.”

Thu, 14:12

London Lions have snapped one of GB’s fastest rising stars as former Australian Open Champion and BBL Champion, Josh Ward-Hibbert is the latest addition to a squad being built to have impact on the European stage.

Thu, 13:00

West Ham United women’s team have announced a deal that sees Bartercard become the club’s newest official partner.

Thu, 11:02

Leyton Orient head coach Ross Embleton has revealed how impressed he has been with striker Ruel Sotiriou’s attitude since returning to training.

Thu, 09:17

London Lions have acquired point guard Kevin Ware, formerly of the Louisville Cardinals, who’s leg break in the NCAA Final Four was only the beginning of a story of belief and resilience.

Tue, 15:50

Simon Harmer spun his way to match figures of 14-131 as county champions Essex beat Surrey by 169 runs to maintain their 100 per cent win record in the Bob Willis Trophy.


The NHS Test and Trace system provides protection for family, friends, colleagues and the community, and is here to keep all of us safe and allow us to enjoy summer safely. We take a look at how the system is working and talk to one member of the thousands of team members about her experiences.

People are being encouraged to enjoy summer safely by exploring destinations closer to home. Taking a holiday in the United Kingdom offers people the chance to uncover some stunning scenery, wonderful attractions and superb accommodation without having to jump on a plane. Here, we take a look at the type of places you can stay, the rules you need to follow and how to enjoy a great staycation.

Summer is here and people from across the South East region can enjoy the many attractions that we have on our doorstep, as long as we follow UK Government advice and enjoy summer safely. There are plenty of places to go and things to do to suit every budget. Here is our guide to the numerous great days out.

Most read sport

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Most Read

Latest from the East London Advertiser