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Watford boss Gianfranco Zola believes they will challenge for the Championship title next season
Gianfranco Zola claims Watford will be in a position to challenge for the Championship title next season and is confident he will be given time to turn the club’s fortunes around.
Zola was appointed the Hornets’ head coach in the summer following the Pozzos’ takeover and has overseen a huge transition at the club, with 16 new signings moving to Vicarage Road .
A few of the summer arrivals have stated they hope to achieve the play-offs this season but Zola has played down expectations, simply stating he wants to improve on last season’s finish of 11th.
The Chelsea legend has much higher hopes when it comes to next season though.
Zola said: “We have to be clear; we want Watford to become a well-established club and a strong club that will be challenging – I don’t know about this year but next year – to win the league.”
The Italian made the comment when discussing the high number of summer signings and whether they will all be remaining for the whole of the 2012/13 campaign.
The Pozzos have an extensive scouting network and a large pool of players at their disposal, many of whom will know they are unlikely to feature for Udinese.
Granada, another of the Pozzos’ clubs, have seen several players spend more than one season on loan from the Little Zebras and Zola expects some of Watford’s signings to do the same.
Zola said: “If we have quality players that do well here, then as far as I am concerned, we will keep them. That is the message the Pozzos gave us on the first day.
“This is not a nursery for players that then go, as far as I know and as far as I am concerned.
“The club is ambitious and I am ambitious so therefore we aim to go to a high level. That is clear.”
Zola confirmed that he expects all 16 of the loan signings to remain at Watford for the whole of this season, but only “if they are good enough”.
The Hornets’ head coach has stressed on a few occasions that the new arrivals will not be prioritised over the players already at the club.
He reiterated: “It is not just the 16 players, there are 32 players and the conditions are the same for everybody. If they are good enough for this club then they will stay. If they are not, then unfortunately they will have to go somewhere else.”
Watford have lost their last four games in all competitions but showed improvement against Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday, and also during the second half at Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
One journalist queried whether Zola would be given time to turn things around by the Pozzos considering the four consecutive defeats.
“The club believes in what we are doing and they assure me that I have time,” Zola replied.
“Obviously there have been a lot of changes and whatever happens, I will keep doing my work, will try to get the team playing well and get results.
“If it doesn’t work then the club will make a decision but that is not my concern. My concern is to make a team from these players and I will do that.
“Our football is good to watch but we have to avoid the mistakes we are making – and we have to probably find a referee who is having a better day,” he joked, in reference to Darren Drysdale’s performance on Tuesday night against Brighton and Hove Albion.