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Gianfranco Zola admits Martin Taylor's sale to Sheffield Wednesday did unsettle Watford ahead of Derby County defeat
Watford head coach Gianfranco Zola admitted Martin Taylor’s departure unsettled his side going into today’s heavy 5-1 defeat at Derby County.
Zola had Taylor pencilled in to once again lead out Watford, with John Eustace still injured, but the centre back was sold to Sheffield Wednesday last night, not long before the transfer window closed.
Carl Dickinson came into the side at centre half, in the only change to the line-up which beat Birmingham City so convincingly last week.
Derby took the lead on 16 minutes and were 3-0 up before half-time. The home side secured the victory in the second half with two more goals, and Matej Vydra could only add a consolation strike to make it 5-1.
When asked whether Taylor’s departure contributed to Watford’s poor defensive display, Zola said: “Martin Taylor is a very influential player for this team, we all know that.
“That certainly didn’t help our situation because this terrible transfer market is crazy because it unsettles everything.
“Yes his sale didn’t help our situation. I know Martin has been important for this team and how important he has been, on and off the pitch, but unfortunately we lost him and the rest of the team must take his responsibilities and do better. And when I say the team, it includes myself.”
Zola said that, in hindsight, he would have changed “some things” but stated the starting line-up would not have been one of the alterations.
He said: “I would have probably changed some things but some things were difficult to change because they were unexpected.
“I would have made the same choices and I would have put the same team on the pitch but I would have been more aware of the dangers of the opposition in certain circumstances.”
Zola admitted his players need to play on the front foot more, and ensure they have possession in the attacking third, rather than going back to the defence and goalkeeper.
The Italian also partly blamed himself for the defeat, as he admitted he did not place enough emphasis on defending set pieces. Derby scored two, possibly three, goals from set plays this afternoon and it is an area where the Rams have been dangerous all season.
Zola said: “There are not many positives today because it was a big defeat so therefore I am not here to be crazy enough to say otherwise.
“It was a poor performance. The start was ok but we had a poor reaction to the first goal and we stopped playing, and that was it.
“I think the result was too big [a margin] but fair enough, they deserved to win and in the Championship, if you give away cheap goals like the first two then you are in trouble and that is what happened.”
When asked what was different compared to last week, he replied: “Against Birmingham we started well and caused them a lot of problems and we scored straight away, which created the perfect circumstances for us to play our football.
“Today it was the opposite. We started ok but I would like to see more courage in our play when we play this football.
“As soon as we conceded the goal we stopped playing and that is not good enough.
“You have to be brave; if you have the time to turn and play football then you need to play forwards, not backwards all the time. Otherwise you are playing with the defenders rather than the midfielders.
“Also I said to the players that I apologise because I underestimated the other team when it came to set plays and I said that to the players, it was my fault.
“But we can be better with the ball and that was something that we didn’t do today.”
Watford created very little this afternoon and were restricted to just a handful of efforts on goal.
“Yes that [the attacking side of our game] was the disappointing thing because we know the way we play will mean we can concede sometimes but we need to create more.
“In the first half, the way we started, we had the possibility to cause them problems but we didn’t do that because we were locked [in our half] and that was not good.”
Click here to read the report from today's Watford game.