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Listen to Gianfranco Zola's thoughts following Watford's win over Doncaster Rovers
Gianfranco Zola was “very impressed” with Lewis McGugan’s contribution against Doncaster Rovers after the midfielder capped arguably his best performance since moving to Vicarage Road with both goals in last night’s 2-1 win.
McGugan gave the Hornets a 13th-minute lead after driving at the Rovers backline before lobbing Ross Turnbull and then sealed the win three minutes from time from the penalty spot after Sean Murray had been tripped by James Husband, although replays show the incident occurred just outside the 18-yard box.
“Today he’s played again for 90 minutes with quantity and quality,” said Zola of McGugan, who doubled his Hornets’ tally to four goals last night. “That’s what I’m looking for from him and he’s certainly giving a very good impression.
“He’s also providing those goals I expect from him and from the players, not only from the strikers, and that is very important - that we keep providing goals for the team that are necessary.”
Connor Smith made his first league start for Watford since November alongside McGugan and while he struggled at times, Zola felt the young midfielder’s contribution improved as the game progressed.
The Watford head coach said: “Connor hasn’t played for a while and I’m also playing him in a position that he hasn’t played when he was a youth.
“He has always been a wide midfielder or one of the three and he’s adapting very well. He’s a clever boy, although he’s very young when he plays.
“He hasn’t got sometimes that brightness that comes when you play games but I’m pleased. As I said in the second half his contribution was much better.”
Smith was one of six changes Zola made from Saturday’s starting line-up and Zola remarked: “Some of the changes were quite necessary as we were missing [Almen] Abdi and also regarding the defenders.
“I know that the defenders whatever I put I have got top players and one can come for the others.
“It’s in the midfield at the moment that we’re a little bit short, we’re missing Almen [Abdi) and we have to try to adapt. But In general I’m happy and I think this performance and victory is going to be very beneficial for us.”
And Zola revealed the Swiss midfielder is also likely to be sidelined again with his ongoing foot problem when the Hornets travel to Barnsley on Saturday.
He said: “It’s tough, he’s got an inflammation and I don’t think he’s going to be available for this Saturday.”
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