Zola sparkles for Chelsea

 

GIANFRANCO ZOLA gave the best advertisement yet for the Premiership's foreign legion and promised Chelsea fans: "I'm going to get even better."

Zola's mesmerising display ash Ruud Gullit's men ended their recent lean spell with a 3-1 win over woeful West Ham was proof positive of the vibrancy the foreigners have brought to this country.

But while Gullit was savouring Zola's "best performance yet", Hammers boss Harry Redknapp was perhaps left wondering if a little more homegrown talent might help his side out of their dangerous tailspin.

Zola, whose stunning solo effort at the embarrassing expense of Julian Dicks, came after he set up the first leg of Mark Hughes' double, said afterwards: "I was happy with my game on Saturday, but I know I could've scored more, that I can do better, and that I need to," said the £4.5 million signing from Parma.

"It is important that I become more effective for the team, and if I am then the team will be more effective, so that is my target.

"What we must do now is start winning away, but that is not easy, because home teams are always that hit more physical, more aggressive.

"We have to be more organised, but we are intelligent players, we know the work we have to put in."

Zola's goal was the highlight of a performance that showed how swiftly he has adapted to the English game.

The Italian was among the massive continental contingent on duty at Stamford Bridge in a game in which the Englishmen on the bench - seven - matched the number on the pitch.

Chelsea's foreign brigade, despite the absence of Gianluca Vialli and Frank Leboeuf, looked far more assured, although Gullit, criticised by John Spencer, Gavin Peacock and now Terry Phelan for ignoring domestic talent, suggested he preferred not to have to shop abroad.

"I need to have players who can adapt to English football, because over here it's a different ball game, but I know exactly what I want," revealed Gullit.

"You must get players who will be useful to your team. First you fry to resolve those problems with the players you have already then at home, and then, if it's not possible, you have to find somebody else.

"Zola was a good buy for us, but we must fry to play the right game, to use him properly, and that means not just give him long balls, but making it easier for him to adapt."

Adapt he certainly has, but while on-loan Portuguese star Hugo Porfirio briefly gave West Ham hope of recovering from the "rank bad defending" that Redknapp said had cost them dear, there was a lack of communication all over the field.