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Watford head coach Gianfranco Zola urges squad players to make the most of first-team opportunities
3:00pm Friday 20th September 2013 in Sport
The Hornets’ squad players must make the most of their chances in the first team if they want to become regular starters this season, Gianfranco Zola has warned.
Zola made six changes to the line-up against Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night due to injuries and the need to rotate some of his more senior players.
That meant first league starts of the season for Connor Smith, Javier Acuna and Cristian Battochio.
Zola was pleased with Smith’s second-half display and urged the youngster, and the rest of his squad, to take full advantage of their time on the pitch.
“I think Connor was shy in the first half but much better in the second half,” Zola said.
“He played with more personality and more control and when players like him are in the team and are given an opportunity to impress, I am expecting those players to take that opportunity.
“They have to take that chance and do well because it’s a very competitive squad and they can’t miss their chances.
“The chance will come again, of course it will come again, but if you take your chances you can earn a place in the first team sooner rather than later.”
There were nine new arrivals at Vicarage Road in the summer and Zola insists it will take time for the players – old and new – to find their best form.
“I certainly cannot pretend everyone is spot on right now. I wasn’t expecting that to happen and I hope nobody else was either,” he said.
“It takes time, even if you have lots of players still here from the previous year, it will take time to really find form and to find the right mentality.
“There are so many things that can influence a performance. The important thing is you are consistent and focused and then things will eventually come right.”
Watford boast one of the deepest squads in the league and while too many fringe players can sometimes cause problems, Zola insists his squad is a strength and morale is high.
“It’s important having that squad and it’s good because you can use it and there is competition for the players,” he added.
“We are very, very confident, morale is very good, we always had a very good spirit among us and a couple of disappointing results won’t change that.”
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