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Nov, 29, 2008

Zola shrugs off sack talk ahead of Anfield test

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola has laughed off suggestions in Liverpool's official club magazine that he will be sacked if his side do not win at Anfield on Monday evening.

The Italian has had some disappointing results since taking over in September, but won at Sunderland last weekend for the Hammers' first league triumph in eight attempts.

Liverpool's magazine said: "Experiencing the same nerve-jangling predicament is a prospect the Upton Park board won't relish and they may decide to move before it is too late.

"A defeat on Monday night, particularly if the scoreline is similar to last season (4-0), could be another nail in the coffin of Zola's short managerial career in East London."

However, Zola claimed such comments do not worry him.

"I'm not really concerned about these things," he said. "That doesn't change my attitude, my way to think.

"We will see. But it would certainly make me focus a little bit, even more, on what I have to do. I know what my position is, I have to give the results to this club.

"I know with the wrong results my position might be difficult but that doesn't really give me too much pressure.

"I'm 100% focused on doing my job as best as I can. But what others think doesn't matter to me."

Zola added: "It's very strange. They can say whatever they want - it doesn't really bother me. I know what I have to do, I know what my task is.

"I don't really give too much attention to those things."

The former Chelsea striker was known for his attacking flair as a player and has tried to instil the same fluent style on his team.

He admits, however, that defence will be the key to stopping Liverpool on Monday.

"Liverpool are going to come against us hard," he said.

"So first of all we need to defend well and keep our composure and then perhaps cause them problems.

"We are now very much focused on our defensive strategy. That doesn't mean that we will be passive."

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