Cole: West Ham break reason for mini-renaissance

Carlton Cole believes West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola's controversial decision to hand his players a holiday in the midst of a relegation battle is bearing fruit.

Carlton Cole believes West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola's controversial decision to hand his players a holiday in the midst of a relegation battle is bearing fruit.

The Italian returned to his native Sardinia to consider his future but returned convinced he is the right man to lead the Hammers to safety.

Upon returning from their three-day break West Ham have since produced two performances packed with character and Cole is convinced they have turned the corner.

Cole said: "The break was good. Sometimes you need a little break to get out from the turbulence.

"We had a lot of stuff thrown at us which is sometimes unfair but sometimes you need criticism to progress.

"We just needed to get out of the mess we were in and we've done all right in the last two games.

"We were very resilient against Sunderland and the whole team performance was quality.

"I've got a lot of praise for the team the way they did their shift and I'm proud of us. I think we are on the route to doing what we set out to do."

Cole barely got a holiday as he worked with the physios on the knee injury that has plagued him this season but the squad enjoyed a team-building night out.

Full-back Jonathan Spector has echoed the England man's words, claiming it was a valuable exercise.

"We may have had some criticism for it but I think the results we've had since then prove it was the right decision," said Spector.

"The manager put his trust in us and I think we paid him back. I think we all needed to get away and clear our heads, come back and start afresh."