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Zola commits his long-term future to West Ham

West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola has committed his future to the club by signing a contract to keep him at Upton Park until 2013.

The Italian was appointed earlier in the season and has turned the club from relegation contenders to European hopefuls.

"I have just signed the contract and I am delighted with that,'' he said. "I'm very pleased. We have a project here that we are taking forward, with the coaching staff, (technical director) Gianluca Nani and (chief executive) Scott Duxbury.

"We are working together, we believe in the project and we will do everything we can to make it happen.''

Zola signed his fresh deal immediately after the Barclays Premier League defeat to Chelsea at Upton Park.

Assistant boss Steve Clarke is expected to seal a new contract to remain as Zola's right-hand man.

Despite the defeat to his former club, Zola could still take West Ham into the Europa League in his rookie season as a manager.

Zola almost marked the day he signed his new contract with a draw, but Petr Cech saved Mark Noble's penalty after Salomon Kalou had opened the scoring.

"It was a good penalty but unfortunately Petr Cech has made a great save,'' Zola said. "Penalties look easy but from experience, I can say they are not.''

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