Watford boss Gianfranco Zola admits the Hornets' tough run-in will make or break their Premier League aspirations
Gianfranco Zola believes Watford’s difficult run-in will prove whether or not the Hornets deserve promotion to the Premier League.
Watford have a challenging fixture list that includes away matches at Hull and Leicester as well home games against Cardiff and Leeds United.
But the Hornets can take heart from a good record this season against the division’s top sides having won four, drawn one and lost only two of the seven games against the Championship’s top six.
“It’s going to be tough because some of our tough games are away from home but if we want to go up to the Premier League these are the games we need to get through,” Zola said.
“We have a good record against the top teams and I would like to think we have beaten them because we have been good, because we played good football and they wanted to play against us and as a result it’s been an open game.
“In those circumstances we can be very, very dangerous and I think the important thing is we didn’t just win those games, we deserved to win those games too.”
If Watford were to gain promotion through the play-offs Zola’s side would have to play 11 more matches this season and the Hornets boss thinks fatigue may have a part to play.
The Italian head coach believes the size and depth of his squad will give Watford an advantage over their rivals but stressed that at this stage of the season, players will be picked on form.
“Having a big squad is certainly an advantage,” Zola said.
“But because we are getting towards the end of the season the tendency will be more and more to play the players who perform better.
“So at the end of the day even if you have a very big squad, from now on you’re obviously going to pick the best players for that moment in time.”
Third in the league and just two points off an automatic promotion spot, Watford have surpassed their early ambitions to finish higher than last season.
With success comes added pressure to perform but Zola insists he is happy for the supporters to have high expectations as long as they are supportive of the team.
He added: “I think it is normal that your expectations change and obviously the supporters will be more demanding now.
“I don’t mind if they are demanding as long as they keep supporting the team and encouraging the players.
“Because at the end of the day what the players have done this season is quite incredible and they deserve to have the fans backing them.”