West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola may be under immense pressure at the Premier League strugglers, but when the dust settles after a disastrous season at Upton Park. The former Chelsea favourite needs to pack his bags and head back to Italy.
We can all admire the man as a player. At Chelsea he set the Premier League alive with some spell bounding performances. His managerial career at West Ham has been something of a disappointment. After an initial bright start it has nose dived dramatically. Taking the Hammers from a respectable 9th position last season to them tittering on relegation in 17th now. If West Ham could afford to offload Zola and Steve Clarke, they would have done so by now.
The former Chelsea star should just keep West Ham up and I believe he will because Hull and Burnley are just even worse. Any other season and West Ham would be dead and buried. Six losses on the trot is exceptionally poor from for the East Enders.
Zola himself after taking sometime out in his home of Sardinia decided to stay to help West Ham’s survival chances. ‘We are experiencing a really delicate moment, but I don’t give up,’ Zola told Gazzetta dello Sport. ‘In these moments we must be strong and calm. I want to do good things with West Ham.’
Zola has taken some harsh criticism, some of it valid, some of it not. The two Dave’s need to shut up once in a while to let him get on with his job. They have not helped matters one bit. Yet at the end of the season Gianfranco Zola should depart England and head back to Italy for one reason only. Tactics. He needs to learn some.
Whilst Zola’s silky skills were never in doubt, his managerial ability is very much so. What remains clear is that Zola has that ‘wow’ factor that helps him have initially brilliant starts. The respect level that exists amongst professionals for a player such as Zola is high. When he took over at West Ham the players reacted well to him because of his status as a legend. After this ‘honeymoon period’ wears off then the manager’s skills and nous really come into play. It appears Zola is lacking in this area. Much akin to Roy Keane.
If Zola went back to Italy he could take up an assistant’s job at one of the bigger clubs. Juventus or Roma are obvious candidates. With rumours of Marcello Lippi ready to quit Italy for Juventus after the World Cup, Zola could become Lippi’s number two and really learn from the wily old tactician. This would be the best move for the man as he has been thrust into a position which he is clearly out of his depth. Tactically against Wolves last week West Ham were woeful. Wolves were clear winners in a game which on paper you would fancy West Ham to win comfortably.
What is clear is West Ham and Gianfranco Zola have some big decisions to make come the end of the season. They most certainly will go their separate ways, but Zola needs to go learn his trade back in the tactician cauldron that is Serie A.
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