The Italian tactician had to fight to keep the Hammers in the top flight, experiencing plenty of hardship along the way and following the 1-1 final day draw with Manchester City, reflected on a tricky term for the London club.
"It's been a long, tiring and exhausting season for us. All of the staff have been under a lot of pressure," said Zola.
"We wanted to give something different but circumstances, mistakes and other things didn't allow us to do that, to give to the team what we wanted to give.
"There were moments when it was tough for us. For me personally, football has always been a joy, always a pleasure.
"I played until I was 39 and never considered it as a job or a difficult thing to do. But this year, because of all the pressure around us, it was difficult to take it in the same way.
"Football has always been part of my life, always one of the main things. I need it. I need football in a certain way though.
"One of the people I admire most is Giovanni Trapattoni, he was in his 70s and joyful about the game. That is the way I want to be.
"I enjoyed it last year, very much, this year a little bit less. I know where the faults and mistakes lie. I will be working on them.
"It was only my second year as a manager and you take in everything. I need to get used to it."