6:29pm Saturday 24th November 2012
By Frank Smith
Gianfranco Zola admitted Watford’s failure to keep possession was the major reason why Blackpool were able to come from two behind and draw with his side this afternoon.
The Hornets were relatively comfortable going into half time following two goals in the opening 21 minutes.
But during the second half, Blackpool enjoyed wave after wave of attacks as Watford were unable to retain possession, which resulted in Isaiah Osbourne scoring an equaliser in injury time.
Zola said: “In a way I am disappointed with the point because I thought the game was gone. It is fair to say that in the second half, they did play better than us and created a lot of chances so the draw was the fair result.
“But it was a good performance from us in general because it is not easy for anyone to come here and get a point.”
He continued: “I knew it would be difficult in the second half but I didn’t think it was going to be that difficult though. Blackpool are a good team with good players and when the number eight came on, Gomes, he made a big difference in the midfield.
“I was expecting my team to hold the ball better than we did in the second half. In the second half we couldn’t keep hold of it and kept giving it back to them. That was the difference between us winning the game and drawing it.
“Even for the last goal, we were in control and then lost it, which is disappointing.”
Watford did not keep possession particularly well in the first half but their counter-attacking was effective.
However, their ability to keep the ball was even worse in the second half and that, combined with substitutions and tactical changes by Michael Appleton, meant Blackpool were much improved and restricted Watford to one long range effort from Nathaniel Chalobah following the break.
Zola was asked why his team were unable to keep possession, he replied: “First of all, in the second half you are more tired. That is something you can’t underestimate. Secondly, they put more pressure on and we should have been able to hold that pressure.
“The other thing is our midfield is good when we are playing forward but, at the moment, not when holding on to the ball. So in that sense, Almen Abdi is such an important player because it gives us a lot of balance because Almen is able to hold on to the ball when under pressure.”
When asked if Watford missed Abdi and Jonathan Hogg, Zola replied: “It would be unfair to say that towards Battocchio and players who took their place because Battocchio played a great game, as did Mark Yeates in the first half. I am saying that in certain moments of the game, we especially missed Almen because he could have helped us a lot in midfield and ensured we held the ball longer.”
There was a clear emphasis on counter-attacking football this afternoon, particularly in the first half when they did so well.
The selection of Ikechi Anya and Matej Vydra suggested the Hornets may look to play a counter-attacking style but Zola stressed there was more to their inclusion than that.
“That was one of the reasons they were picked,” he said. “The other reason was that when we played Leeds, Anya played well and Marco Cassetti picked up an injury in the last game and he only came back into training for the last two days, so it was better not to pick him.
“But Anya has become a guarantee for us because he can always give us something different in that position.
“As for Vydra, he played against Leeds and was fantastic, scoring two goals, but then I had to leave him out because he went to the national team.
“So it was correct to play him today and also the game suited him as well. He played a good game.”
So would Zola consider today’s result one point gained or two lost?
“It depends on the way you look at it. If you say, I am coming to Blackpool, a team not long relegated from the Premier League, and you get a point then it is a good point.
“But if you look at the way we played and how the game was going, then you say that it is a point dropped.”
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