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West Ham boss Zola admits fitness concerns

New West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola has concerns over his squad's fitness levels.

The former Chelsea favourite watched his new side from the stands at West Brom last week before officially taking over as Alan Curbishley's successor on Monday.

Albion won that one 3-2 with a late goal and Zola, who has appointed countryman Antonio Pintus as his fitness coach, was keen to put that right.

He said: "I was surprised how the players tired towards the end of that game. Probably if they had not we wouldn't have lost. But I told the players not to be too hard on themselves. Up to 70 minutes they were very good and looked the better team on the pitch.

"The last 20 minutes they went down physically and when you go down physically you also lose attention and that's why we conceded a third goal. We have already started working on that."

Zola, who has been able to persuade Steve Clarke to leave Chelsea to become his assistant, declared he was delighted with the players' response to his methods.

He said: "The training sessions have been spot on and all the players have been very committed. Today, for example, it should have been an easy session but they wanted to push it all the time. I am very pleased. It is the kind of attitude every manager hopes to get.

"I like to train a lot with the ball with a lot of intensity in the sessions. I know my training sessions are very demanding but they are always with the ball and always with a lot of enjoyment.

"The players have already said to me they like it very much. The sessions are not longer than an hour and a half but they are very sharp. Maybe this week has been a little longer because I had to explain certain things but they were not too long."

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