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Zola hails vital Hammers win

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola was ecstatic after seeing his side win 1-0 at home to Sunderland to move four points clear of the Premier League drop zone.

A goal early in the second half from Ilan proved decisive at Upton Park, as the Irons gained valuable breathing space in their bid to beat the drop.

Zola commented:"We are very happy for today. It was such a tough game for us and I am pleased because the players gave everything.

"I am absolutely delighted for the boys because I know what they have been through all this time.

"The result we got last week (2-2 draw at Everton) gave everybody a big boost. This is much better, but it is still too early to celebrate. We are not there yet.

"It might be enough but we will try to get more. This is not a championship where you can say it is over. Nobody was expecting Burnley to beat Hull City – we will stay on our toes."

Meanwhile, Zola paid tribute to striker Ilan, who backed up his late equaliser at Everton with the crucial strike against the Black Cats.

He added:"Ilan has done very well. Last week he came on and he scored a very important goal for us. That goal he scored today was unbelievable.

"I am delighted. He is becoming very effective for us. He is making a big difference but I don't think we have seen the best of him because he is still adapting his football.

"But the understanding he has with Carlton Cole is good."

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Article title: Zola hails vital Hammers win

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