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Watford boss Gianfranco Zola felt 'sick' for his players after their agonising defeat to Cardiff City
1:19pm Wednesday 24th October 2012 in Watford FC News
Gianfranco Zola said he felt "sick" for his players after nine-man Watford conceded a last minute goal to lose 2-1 against Cardiff City.
Daniel Pudil was sent off for an off the ball incident in the second half, with the score 1-0 to the Hornets, and Cardiff’s Peter Whittingham subsequently levelled through a penalty.
Nathaniel Chalobah was dismissed a minute later for kicking the ball away and Cardiff capitalised in injury time as Aron Gunnarsson grabbed the winner.
Zola was bitterly disappointed for his players, who he felt deserved more from the match.
"It is very cruel, not only for me but for my players - for the way they played, the way they fought - to see them come out with a defeat is very hard to take," the Hornets boss said.
"I am very proud of them and I feel sick for them because they fought so hard and, honestly, when a team plays with passion like that, they deserve more.
"I know that if you play Cardiff it’s 50/50; you can win or you can lose, but for the way they played, we deserved more than what we got."
Watford looked strong before the dismissals and Zola claimed the two red cards were pivotal moments in the game.
He said: "I think at 11 against 11 the game was quite even, we were 1-0 up and whilst they were creating some problems, we were quite in control.
"But obviously after the sending off the balance of the game changed completely."
Zola said he didn’t see the incident which led to Pudil’s dismissal but believed Chalobah was a bit unfortunate and claimed on another day it could have been different.
"Our complaint is just that Nathaniel receives the ball and puts it away, I don’t know, maybe he just got the ball and it’s one of those things," Zola said.
"It’s 50/50, it’s not that he went there and kicked the ball, the ball came to him on the volley and he vollied it out - sometimes you give a yellow card, sometimes you don’t - I cannot complain.
"I don’t want to be too hard on him, these are tough games even for experienced players and when you’re full of adrenaline and you’re fighting for your team, sometimes it happens, you make a bad judgement - it was an instinctive reaction so I cannot criticise him."
Watford have now had four players sent off in the last four games – although Matej Vydra’s dismissal was rescinded - but the Hornets boss insists his side have been unlucky, rather than it being down to indiscipline.
"The first two – the one at Charlton and the one at Middlesbrough - were certainly not red cards and the fact that Matej Vydra’s suspension has been rescinded confirms that.
"As for these two against Cardiff, with Chalobah it was a second yellow card - it could have been, it could have not been.
"Regarding Danny Pudil I can’t say anything more, I am going to ask the referee what has happened because I didn’t see it."