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Gianfranco Zola believes Watford have to take their game to a 'higher level' when the Championship begins on Saturday
4:19pm Monday 13th August 2012 in Watford FC News
Gianfranco Zola has stated that he believes Watford’s hard fought victory against Wycombe Wanderers will help them learn for the season ahead.
The Hornets needed an extra-time goal from Chris Iwelumo to overcome League Two outfit Wycombe in the Capital One Cup.
The new-look Watford side rarely got moving, and were limited to only a handful of chances throughout the first 90 before Iwelumo struck.
Wycombe put lots of pressure on the Hornets, who looked shaky in the early encounters, and nearly took the lead through Richard Logan, but Watford held out and secured victory in the second half of extra-time.
Zola has said that he feels the Hornets needed a test like this to be ready for the forthcoming season, and especially their opening fixture against Crystal Palace.
He said: “It's good, actually I was expecting and looking for a game like this.
“So far our friendly fixtures have been very good but sometimes you need something like this to improve.
“We need to take our game to a higher level because Saturday is going to be tough.”
Zola went on to state that the lessons learnt in this fixture will only help the Golden Boys throughout the season, but improvement is needed.
“We need to improve obviously, we know, the players know, and we will take something out of this game, it was very important,” he said.
In normal time, there were very few chances for either side in a tentative affair, with Joe Garner going closest for Watford.
He was later substituted for target man Iwelumo, who finally broke the deadlock in the 109th minute to secure victory in Zola’s first competitive game. Despite making hard work of the win, the manager was left pleased.
He said: “It took a long while, but it came, that’s the most important thing”
However, the Italian has attributed the hard work of the opponents, coupled with individual mistakes as the main reason why the Hornets stuttered to victory.
“To be honest they made it difficult for us, they didn’t concede us a lot of space, especially upfront,” said Zola.
“In the first half particularly, we were too slow moving the ball. Also, there were a lot of mistakes individually, so therefore we didn’t get the rhythm that we wanted to and that was the main reason why we found it difficult.”
One player that missed out in this fixture was influential young midfielder Sean Murray, but Zola has stated that it was nothing serious.
“He picked up an injury yesterday, just a knock, nothing serious.
“There was swelling in his calf, so as a precautionary measure he didn’t play.”
Murray may well be back in contention next week, when the Hornets start their league campaign with a trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday, before playing host to Ipswich Town in Zola’s first league game at Vicarage Road .