Zola: Hammers not afraid of United

Gianfranco Zola has insisted West Ham do not fear Manchester United.

The Hammers head to Old Trafford tonight on the back of three straight defeats but Zola has refused to hit the panic button despite the recent losses by Arsenal, Hull and Bolton, instead vowing to remain true to his philosophies of entertaining, attacking football

The Italian takes the view that what does not kill you makes you stronger – and he is convinced West Ham will emerge from their poor run a better team as a result.

“We respect Manchester United but we do not fear them. It is a difficult moment for us, but from these times good teams come out,” said Zola.

“I feel really bad about it. I have never seen a team play so well but get no points from three matches.

“I know in football things can change very quickly, so we just need to keep our game right and then everything will be better. We feel we will go there to play our own game and to win.”

Zola denied he was putting style before substance and insisted West Ham will not change their ambitious approach in order to spark that change in fortune.

He explained: “The type of football which we are playing suits the team very well. We just have to accept that sometimes you have bad moments which just do not go your way.

“You have to be strong and to believe that is the right way, to make it work. That is what I am going to be telling the players.

“It is a good starting point, to be playing well, because then results will be a consequence. That is my philosophy, and I will pursue it.”

Zola will have to reshuffle his strike force after Carlton Cole was sent off in the closing minutes against Arsenal, while Dean Ashton is a long-term injury casualty and new arrival Diego Tristan is not expected to be match fit.

That leaves Zola without a natural target man and could prompt a switch in formation from the 4-3-3 he brought into the club.

But West Ham should have Swiss international Valon Behrami back in the squad after he missed the Arsenal game with a minor groin problem.

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