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Watford head coach Gianfranco Zola says 'clean sheets don't matter as long as we score one more'
Gianfranco Zola stressed Watford’s failure to keep clean sheets away from home is not an issue “as long as we score one more than the opposition” following his side’s 2-1 victory away to Middlesbrough.
The Hornets secured an excellent win over fellow promotion-chasers Boro this afternoon thanks to a goal from Matej Vydra in each half.
Watford looked set to keep a clean sheet on the road for the first time this season until Scott McDonald scored with one of the final touches of the game.
When asked whether the lack of clean sheets was frustrating, Zola replied: “Not really; I don’t mind as long as we score one more than the opposition. It also gives us the focus to keep working and improving.
“We are not a team that can say we are perfect; there is a lot of work to do and that gives you the edge to keep working.”
The first half was a dismal affair in terms of quality but Watford took the lead with their first shot on goal just before the break. A poor decision from Rhys Williams resulted in the defender chesting the ball back towards Jason Steele, which allowed Vydra to intercept and score from close range.
The Hornets were improved in the second half and grabbed another goal seven minutes before the end when Almen Abdi released Vydra, who slotted into the far corner.
Zola said: “The second half was good but the first half wasn’t really. We didn’t deserve to be 1-0 up in the first half; it was a present from the opposition. They had their chances in the first half and they played well but they didn’t take them.
“In the second half we stepped our game up a little bit and that was the difference really. Going forward we were much more positive and precise. It was a good performance in the end.”
Vydra has now scored 14 goals this season but Zola highlighted the fact the Czech Republic international could have picked up his first hat-trick in the yellow of Watford this afternoon had it not been for Steele and a wayward strike.
“He could have had more actually,” Zola said when asked about Vydra. “It is very unusual to see Matej miss shots like he did today but he was excellent obviously.
“The defenders were also very good today and also Cristian Battocchio and Abdi in the second half. I take a lot of pleasure from the performances today.”
“If he carrys on the way he is playing then he will get his hat-trick sooner rather than later,” Zola added.
Watford are starting to develop a reputation for being one of the best counter-attacking sides in the division and did take advantage of Middlesbrough when the match became more stretched.
Zola downplayed the importance of Vydra’s goal though, in terms of their ability to counter-attack in the second half.
He said: “It wasn’t the goal; it was just us that were different. In the first half we had the opportunity to break but there was always a pass short or a run which was delayed. Second half was different; everyone was more tuned in.”
Click here to read today's match report.