Zola keen to rekindle FA Cup glory at Upton Park
PUBLISHED: 18:21 28 January 2009 | UPDATED: 14:00 05 October 2010
Gianfranco Zola hopes to emulate his own piece of FA Cup magic this season by inspiring a victory parade around Upton Park
By JONATHAN CLEGG
Gianfranco Zola hopes to emulate his own piece of FA Cup magic this season by inspiring a victory parade around Upton Park.
The West Ham boss lifted the trophy twice during his time as a player at Chelsea, including a Wembley final against Middlesbrough in 1997 just six months after his arrival in England.
Zola insists that triumph and the subsequent celebrations were the highlights of his illustrious playing career and the Italian has now set his sights on a third cup victory after the Hammers were paired with Boro in the fifth-round draw last weekend.
He said: "Winning the first FA Cup was the best achievement in my career, because it came as a surprise.
"I did not expect the crowd to be so enthusiastic when we came out on the bus to celebrate down the Kings Road - it was fantastic.
"I remember my father was climbing up a lamp post to try to get the view of a bus. I will never forget that. It was unbelievable.
"It would be fantastic to win it again as a manager. I am sure I would enjoy it as much as when I was playing."
Zola revealed that the winning mentality among the Chelsea squad laid the platform for the club's cup successes during his time at Stamford Bridge and the Hammers manager is keen to foster a similar culture at Upton Park.
"At Chelsea, we had a fantastic team with an excellent relationship - I would encourage that here because the environment where you work is vital to success," Zola said.
"What we're trying to do is to create the right environment for everyone to work - if you can do that, you are already a step ahead in what you want to achieve.
"You make it into a place that people enjoy, where people are all working alongside each other. If you stick to these principles, it is difficult to fail."
The Italian added that there were signs in West Ham's professional display against fourth-round opponents Hartlepool that his squad has the determination necessary to lift the trophy.
He said: "To be fair, the players were really focused [against Hartlepool]. They want to go to Wembley - we want to go to Wembley, and to go there, we need to go through games like that.
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