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Zola: I know I put my reputation on line at West Ham

Gianfranco Zola admits he took a big risk taking on the West Ham United job.

"I know this is a big risk," admitted the Sardinian. "I am putting myself on the line.

"All the goodness I have done is on the line and I'm going away from Chelsea to another Premier League club, but I like the challenge. The bigger the job, the more responsibility and attention you get, so every mistake is in the spotlight.

"I'm not afraid of mistakes. I became a better player by missing penalties and crying after that but it's all part of the process of becoming better. I know that there may be a risk but can you imagine the reception I'm going to get here from the club? It's going to be fantastic. That's what I am thinking about."

Zola worked for two years as assistant manager of the Italian Under-21 team before agreeing a three-year deal in the East End in September.

And he accepts he is still "learning" on the job.

"It's been a challenge because playing football is one thing, coaching the players is another entirely," said Zola. "Sometimes you have to tell a player everything, sometimes you just have to give a few details.

"Sometimes you tell a young boy to control the ball and pass it, when you should be saying, 'this is how you control and this is where you should be looking to pass it'.

"Sometimes you assume that he knows things already. That's what makes very good players good at playing, but maybe not so good at coaching.

"That's why I preferred to start my coaching career with youngsters who can learn from experience and let other people deal with the football. I'm still learning."

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