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Gianfranco Zola and Paul Dickov give their views on penalty which saw Watford beat Doncaster Rovers
It was no surprise there was one big talking point following Watford’s win over Doncaster Rovers tonight – was James Husband’s foul on Sean Murray that led to Lewis McGugan’s decisive penalty inside or outside the 18-yard box?
John Ryan was outside the Vicarage Road tunnel after the game making no secret of his view that it was “a foot outside the box”, Paul Dickov supported his chairman’s opinion but Gianfranco Zola adopted a more pragmatic stance.
“It looks like it was on the line inside but that is my eyes,” the Hornets’ head coach said. “I think Paul’s eyes are seeing it more outside but what can I say, the referee has given the penalty.
“When we played Charlton there was maybe a penalty towards the end that hasn’t been given so sometimes you are on the right side and sometimes you are the wrong side. But I don’t think it takes anything away from the performance.”
Dickov though, was adamant a free-kick should have been awarded.
“It’s not a penalty” he said. “I thought that at the time and after seeing it again not just once but various times from different angles I just don’t see how the referee can make that call with a couple of minutes left to go. It’s outside the box. The linesman’s flagged for a foul, which it was, the referee’s got a prefect view of it but to give a decision like that late in the game is really disappointing.”
Asked what he said to referee Darren Drysdale at the time, the Rovers boss responded: “I told him it wasn’t a penalty. Nine times out of ten your first reaction is the right reaction and we didn’t feel it was, I could tell by young James’ reaction that it wasn’t and as soon as I’ve seen the linesman flag for the foul at no point was he going to give the penalty.
“We feel hard done by. We know they’re a good team but we defended for our lives. The one thing I don’t mind doing is to get beat but to get beat in that manner is a little bit sickening at the minute.”
But Zola felt Watford deserved the win for their second-half display when they created several good chances in the last half-an-hour “I’m delighted for the three points. I’m also pleased with the way we played in the second half.
“We realised that it wasn’t our best day in the first half but we’ve been patient, waited and went back to basics and started to use the pitch better. I think the quality of the football improved and also the chances came, one after the other.
“In the end we’ve been rewarded with a penalty but I think the team has done enough to win the game.”
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