The West Ham supporters chanted "you're not fit to wear the shirt" at the team - but Zola urged them to direct any anger and frustration towards him.
"I think that chant is a little unfair because the players they tried everything," said Zola.
"The players did their best but in a disjointed way and it made it very difficult for us. They played as individuals.
"That is very, very painful for me because it is my duty to correct it. The team is not playing very well and I take responsibility for that.
"If (the fans) want to pick up on somebody they must pick up on me because I am responsible.
"If they want to chant something they must chant about me. They have to leave the players because they belong to West Ham, they are working for West Ham and they are committed to West Ham.
"If they want to pick up on somebody they must pick up on me.
"Last year when we were playing well, I was getting compliments. I took the compliments, I can take the criticism as well. But they should leave the players.
"My concern is the team and I have to make sure they react in the right way. I have a long night in front of me to think about that."