WEST HAM boss Gianfranco Zola believes he has unearthed a real gem in Alessandro Diamanti after another sparkling performance by the Italian in their 3-0 demolition of relegation rivals Hull at Upton Park.
Goals from Valon Behrami, Carlton Cole and Julien Faubert secured a comfortable win over nine-man City.
The victory was helped by the dismissal of Hull’s Craig Fagan in the second-half and, after the visitors had used all three of their substitutes, the loss of City’s captain Anthony Gardner with a serious leg injury.
But while the goal-scorers hogged the spotlight, it was Diamanti who lit up the east London ground. The former Livorno striker almost scored the goal of the season when he tried to beat Hull goalkeeper Boaz Myhill with a shot from inside his own half.
Such audacity reminds Zola of the days when he used the same unpredictability at Chelsea.
“Although I have very good players, I keep him playing all the time because I know he can do something special,” said Zola. “You have to be on your toes when you play against him because he can score at any moment.
“He is probably the only one crazy enough to try and score from his own half. Sometimes he does the unpredictable things. He also does unpredictable mistakes as I used to. That is the kind of player he is.
“But what is surprising me about him is that his work-rate is fantastic. He is also playing in a position where he has never played before. In Italy, he used to play second striker or maybe behind the two strikers in the hole. He didn’t work very hard defensively but now he works very hard for us and is massive for the team.”
West Ham’s victory was their first back-to-back league successes since March 2009 and the stability brought to the club by new owners David Gold and David Sullivan is already having its effect, according to Zola.
It means Zola will take his West Ham side to Old Trafford on Tuesday in a relaxed and confident mood.
“You live up and down in this job,” he said. “When things are not going very well you suffer a lot. Now we are getting better and as far as I am concerned, I am much more pleased.
“Now we can play a little bit more relaxed. During those times off the pitch we never lost our focus. It has been hard for me and the players. There were so many things going on. Now the with situation more stable, I think the results will come because this team has got quality, no doubt about that. We just need the right conditions to show how good we are.”
MATCH RATING *** – West Ham played some entertaining football and dominated for much of the game, but apart from some fine saves by Myhill, Hull didn’t help their cause.
REFEREE: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire) 6 – kept a firm grip on the game ands had no choice but to send off Craig Fagan for a silly challenge.
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