Sullivan hands backing to Zola

West Ham United co-owner David Sullivan has denied that he is thinking about sacking Gianfranco Zola.

The Italian was unhappy on Tuesday when Sullivan was quoted as saying everyone at Upton Park would have to take a pay cut in the summer in an attempt to improve the club's dire finances.

The timing of the comments, just 24 hours before a key game against Birmingham City, upset Zola who also thought they could have been directed at the club's staff rather than leaked to the media.

Reports had suggested that the Hammers were lining up former Manchester City manager Mark Hughes, but Sullivan insisted when asked how secure Zola's position was:"It's 100 per cent secure.

"In 17 years we sacked two managers at Birmingham. We're not sackers. We support managers and we'll bring in players to improve the team in the summer.

"I think over the next 14 games we'll learn an awful lot about everyone at West Ham, the team and the manager. I'm confident over the next 14 games that the team will improve and that we'll claw our way up the table.

"The books are horrendous. There's 100-odd million of debt. This might be the last interview I do this season.

"We've made the public aware of the situation. We're not going to go over and over it again. It's an enormous challenge. We think we're up for it. It's something that we have to put all our energy into."

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