Gianfranco Zola was considering quitting as West Ham manager last night after the club's sixth successive Premier League defeat put them on the brink of relegation.
The Italian said he was ready to sacrifice himself if it would help rescue the club, who are kept out of the bottom three only on goal difference.
Hull beat Fulham 2-0 to draw level on points with a game in hand, while Ricardo Fuller's 69th-minute strike condemned West Ham to a 1-0 home defeat by Stoke.
Walking away now, with six games left, would allow the club to install a short-term replacement in a bid for Premier League survival. Glenn Hoddle, David O'Leary and Graeme Souness have been considered for that role, but Birmingham boss Alex McLeish is the man co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold want in the summer if West Ham are still in the top flight.
It is understood that former Birmingham owners Sullivan and Gold have run out of patience with Zola, but the possibility of going back to their old club to approach McLeish is bound to stir up trouble with their successors, with whom they have a difficult relationship.
Zola has three years left on his West Ham contract and earns £1.9milliona year. Sacking him and assistant Steve Clarke could cost £3.5m, a hugesum for a club already massively in debt.
Hammer blow: Ricardo Fuller celebrates after firing the winner
Asked if he was walking away from the job, Zola said: 'If the problem is me, why not? I will have to think about it a lot overnight. The players are trying very hard and the bottom line is to see whether I can help them or not.
'It would be difficult to walk away. I have a big bond with the players. Losing today was very painful and there is a lot to think about. It will be a weekend where I will be talking to the owners a lot.'
Gold, who went to see Zola after yesterday's defeat, said as he left Upton Park: 'We had a meeting with him, we assured him that we were right behind him.
'We've got six very difficult games and he's got to get some results for us. But we're absolutely 100 per cent behind him.
Zola in bubble: West Ham have lost their last six games
'My decision is he's our manager as we speak. We don't have a replacement in mind.'
The defeat by Stoke and the humiliation by Wolves last Tuesday has undoubtedly pushed Zola towards the exit door, but the writing has been on the wall for the Italian since Sullivan and Gold took control in January.
Sullivan launched a scathing attack on West Ham's players, the team's tactics and organisation after the 3-1 defeat against Wolves at Upton Park, which upset Zola.
There were further problems at the training ground when the co-chairman is thought to have clashed with players and been told to leave a meeting by Clarke.
Feeling the pain: West Ham's Carlton Cole after their defeat by Stoke
However, Zola insisted they did not add to those difficulties last night. 'The owners are behind us,' he said.
'I don't know if they will sack me. I don't think so, but it is not a problem. I know my duties and know the situation is not going the way it should. I accept that.
'I don't think the players are playing against us. Obviously, looking at the results, I am not getting the best out of them.
'The fans have been great and I am sorry we couldn't give them a better response.
'I am here just to do a good job for this club and will consider overnight whether I am or not.'
Zola on the brink: Beleaguered West Ham boss 'considers his future'West Ham 0 Stoke 1: Fuller strikes to put beleaguered Zola on the brinkGianfranco Zola insists he won't quit West Ham after clash with Sullivan