Gianfranco Zola insists he does not regret making six changes for tonight’s 2-0 defeat to Bristol City and claimed he would do it again.
Fitz Hall, John Eustace, Jonathan Hogg, Sean Murray, Fernando Forestieri and Alex Geijo all came into the starting XI this evening.
Zola stressed it is important he keeps the whole squad happy and highlighted the fact the Hornets have three games in eight days as a reason for his decision.
When asked if he regretted making the six changes, Zola replied: “No. I don’t look at the short picture. We have a lot of games to play and this is a team; it is not just about the first XI.
“We have other players that have always been very good when they have played and I need to keep them all motivated as I will need them until the end.
“So I don’t regret it and I don’t think it is the reason we didn’t win the game. I would do it again to be honest.”
When pressed on the matter further, he added: “We have a lot of games and the players we have on the bench are very good players. I don’t think it is the main reason we lost.
“Don’t forget Fernando Forestieri was one of our best players and is still one of the best players we have.
“It is just tonight wasn’t our night and we didn’t expect them to be sitting back so much and not pushing forward. We couldn’t find the spaces we are normally good at finding and that was the difference.”
City’s manager Sean O’Driscoll got his tactics right tonight; with Bristol sitting deep, remaining compact and making it hard for Watford to play their usual game.
Zola said: “Their tactics didn’t help us of course because they made it very difficult for us and it is certainly one of the reasons for today’s defeat.
“Also the quality in the final third was not as good as normal and having one chance in the first half is not enough.
“The first goal was a lucky goal but after that we didn’t do enough for us to say we deserved something more than this.
“I think their tactics and our lack of quality in the final third have made the difference.”
He continued: “The result is disappointing and so is the performance. Defeats like this can happen and it can happen on days like this.
“The reaction is now what is important. I believe everybody is as disappointed as I am but what can you do?
“Other times we have been fantastic and today we haven’t been. It is part of football. But I am expecting something more than that in the next game.
“It is a night where everybody has made mistakes and we need to improve in the next game.”
Bristol’s first goal came from a Greg Cunningham cross which skidded off the surface and deceived goalkeeper Manuel Almunia.
Zola refused to blame the former Arsenal man though, saying: “He certainly won’t be very happy about it but I wouldn’t even want to mention it because he has been fantastic most of the times we have played."
The Italian concluded: “This game won’t change anything. But something might change if we don’t react properly to this game. That is what I am expecting straight away.”
Click here to read a report from tonight's match.