Tue, Jan 20, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Zola not fazed by Bellamy’s impending departure

AFP , LONDON

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola is ready to let Craig Bellamy leave Upton Park with his blessing after being told he will be able to use the transfer fee to sign a replacement.

Bellamy was absent from West Ham’s squad for Sunday’s 3-1 win over Fulham at Upton Park because Zola felt the Wales striker wasn’t in the right frame of mind to play.

Bellamy walked out of training on Friday after hearing that West Ham had denied him permission to speak to Spurs about a move.

Manchester City are also keen to sign the fiery striker and Zola will sell because he knows he will be allowed to buy a new forward, even though the club’s financial situation is perilous.

“If he’s sold I will get the money to spend on other players. We are looking at targets,” Zola said.

“The situation needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. I haven’t set a deadline but I need to know where I am going with my squad,” he said. “It has to be quick because we are looking for new players and we will find someone.”

Zola has no reason to fear that Bellamy’s imminent departure will derail his side’s season after watching David Di Michele help to dispatch Fulham.

Di Michele scored West Ham’s opener when he punished a poor chested backpass by John Pantsil.

Fulham’s Paul Konchesky equalized but was the villain after half-time as he brought down Carlton Cole in the penalty area and Mark Noble buried the spot-kick.

Di Michele turned provider to seal the win with an astute pass that Cole steered past Mark Schwarzer.

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson admitted his side had only themselves to blame for their defeat.

“Sometimes you can only play as well as the opposition allow you, but with regards to the goals they were clear technical errors from players who haven’t been making them this season,” he said.

Hodgson also took a swipe at West Ham’s Australia defender Lucas Neill, who got Simon Davies booked by kicking the ball at him as he lined up for a free-kick.

“I’m not in favor of people kicking the ball at opponents from two or three yards to get them booked,” he said.

“I told Neill that from fairly close range and he told me exactly what to do as well. The last time I fought someone was 52 years ago so I wasn’t going to get in too much of a fight with a tough Australian!” he said.

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