Gianfranco Zola believes he would need to “sacrifice” a defender or midfielder if he was to start Fernando Forestieri and Matej Vydra together.
Vydra is the club’s top scorer with seven goals but before Saturday had started just one of the previous five matches due to Zola’s decision to play Forestieri and Troy Deeney.
In recent months Zola has opted for the Forestieri-Deeney partnership or the pairing of Vydra and Alex Geijo.
When asked whether he believed Vydra and Forestieri could play in the same team, Zola replied: “I think they can play together, of course, but in that case I would have to sacrifice a defender or midfielder. That is something that in these first moments, I do not want to do because the balance of the team is more important. So therefore I need to sacrifice a little bit of quality [in attack] in order to have more balance across the pitch.”
Zola praised Vydra’s finishing after the 6-1 victory against Leeds United but once again stressed there were other areas where the Czech Republic international needs to improve.
The Watford head coach said: “He took his goals very well. I am not concerned about his finishing, that is good all the time. But today he helped a lot with the team defending and holding the ball up – that was what I was looking for from him. Those are the areas where he needs to improve because his finishing is always excellent. It is no coincidence he is on seven goals.”
Intriguingly though, Zola raised the prospect of possibly starting with both Vydra and Forestieri when looking ahead to the weekend clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers yesterday (Thursday).
Asked whether the fact Vydra had only played for 23 minutes while on international duty this week would be a factor in his potential inclusion, the Hornets head coach responded: “That’s something I have to consider. I know Matej has played very well the other day and scored two goals; his performance was excellent.
“I must also say Forestieri, when he played, did very well as well so it doesn’t make my choice easy.
“We are looking for the best for the team and both players will have a lot of games. [I] don’t know exactly who’s going to start – I might start both – but they will have a lot of games and as long as they keep performing the way they’re doing that is a good thing.”
Sean Murray is another Watford player who has found first-team starts harder to come by lately but the young midfielder came off the bench to score one and create another during the romp at Elland Road.
Zola explained: “Vydra’s situation is not much different from Sean Murray’s situation or Mark Yeates’ situation. They are all very good players, the point is I have many players and I have the possibility to choose.
“So it is not easy for me to leave players like that on the bench, believe me, but it is a long Championship with a lot of opportunities and a lot of games. But the point is this; even if you don’t start the game and you are on the bench, you can always be important in terms of determining games and that is something every player has to keep in mind.”
Murray scored seven goals in 19 outings during the 2011/12 campaign and started five of the first six games this season.
But the 19-year-old’s last start came against Bristol City on September 22 and in the following match, Watford switched to the 3-5-2 formation they have used since.
Zola confirmed: “Murray has not been playing because of selection [reasons]. We changed system and some of the players have been a little disadvantaged because of those changes and Sean is certainly one of them.
“He is working very hard to improve and to learn a different position where he can play. I am pleased with his attitude and he will come back stronger. At the moment, he is one that is finding it difficult.”
When Murray was starting on a regular basis earlier this season, he seemed to struggle to make the same impact as he did in the first half of 2012.
Zola added: “Sometimes there is no particular reason [players under-perform]. Last year he was a surprise for everybody and he did extremely well. Now it is the second season and that is always more difficult and sometimes it is normal that you take a step back to take two forward again.
“I am sure Sean will become an important player for this team. Now he is finding it difficult but it will make him better.”