Gianfranco Zola admitted the "burnt fingers" he suffered at Bristol City was a factor when he decided to only make three changes against Ipswich Town last night.

Zola has often made wholesale alterations to his line-up when Watford have had three games in eight days and his side lost 2-0 to bottom-of-the-table Bristol City three weeks ago after making six changes.

The Italian opted to make just three adjustments to the starting XI at Portman Road last night, one of which was forced as Daniel Pudil was withdrawn through illness.


"I did that [only made three changes] because I didn't want to upset you any more," Zola joked when asked by the Watford Observer's Frank Smith.

"No I just felt if I could change one player in each part of the pitch - so one striker, one midfielder and one defender - then I could give an injection of freshness. I thought that would be enough and then I wanted to make the other changes during the game.

"I changed the approach slightly because I burnt my fingers last time [at Bristol City]. But I think it is important that we realise we have already played 33 and there are 13 more to go, plus maybe the play-offs, so we need to keep everybody motivated and in good form.

"We cannot think we are going to finish the season with only 11 players. That is the logic behind my changes, especially when we play [another game] after a few days.

"You can see that with every team; when they play on a Saturday, then on Tuesday night it is always difficult. You can see that with the results around today. I bet they maybe didn't make as many changes."