Watford boss Gianfranco Zola admitted his team were outfought and outworked by Barnsley
Gianfranco Zola accepted Watford were outfought and outworked by Barnsley this afternoon – which was especially disappointing as the head coach claimed he warned his players this may happen.
The Hornets may have been 18 league positions higher than Barnsley going into today’s contest but the Tykes were better in every department.
David Flitcroft has installed a real sense of team unity at Oakwell and they pressed Watford throughout the match, with Zola admitting his team didn’t make three consecutive passes in the first half.
Barnsley are in a relegation dog fight and Zola conceded his team weren’t used to facing such a determined side.
Zola said: “I am disappointed about the result and the performance. But it ends there because at the end of the day, sometimes you have to admit when the opposition fights and plays the way they do.
“You have to consider sometimes that your better quality doesn’t prevail. Especially in the Championship where you have teams fighting for their lives like Barnsley and they make it so difficult for you to play and you cannot overcome that.
“It is correct that we lost. It is the first time this season they we have come across a team like this.
“The players will learn a lot from today and for many of them, they haven’t known a game like this. It is the first time we have faced a team who have pressed us so much throughout the game and many of them will learn.
“In my team, I have a lot of young players and a game like this will teach them a lot.”
When asked about his team being outfought and outworked, Zola added: “I think I was disappointed because I warned them because I know what it is like playing in this league and I kind of prepared them, but until you go through certain experiences, you won’t learn completely and that was the case.
“The first half was the difference. We didn’t manage to make three passes in a row. In the second half we had a better determination and we created a little more but it wasn’t enough.
“The game was already going in a certain direction and it was tough to change because of them. They really worked very hard.”
Watford have eight games remaining and all of their future opponents are currently fighting for either promotion, a play-off place or to avoid relegation.
Considering Zola’s previous comments regarding not being used to playing teams who are fighting for something, he was asked whether this concerned him.
He replied: “No because we are fighting for something as well and something very important as well. It doesn’t concern me; it is just that I want the team to always progress and a game like this, in which we found something new that we didn’t find before, I believe this will make us better.
“You don’t have to take two defeats in too hard a way. The defeat against Blackpool was totally undeserved, totally.
“Today it was a deserved defeat because we didn’t play well. I won’t make a big fuss of it. We will address the situation and we will come back stronger.”
Click here to read a report from today’s match.