Slavisa Jokanovic spoke to former Watford head coach Gianfranco Zola about taking charge of the Hornets and was told “you are in the right place at the right time”.

Zola, who was the Golden Boys’ head coach for 17 months, played with Jokanovic for two years at Chelsea between 2000 and 2002.

Twenty-four of Watford’s 35 professionals were at the club during Zola’s reign and Jokanovic sought the advice of the Italian after he was appointed as head coach two weeks ago.

Jokanovic said: “Gianfranco knows so much about these players and this club. Where I am now, he was here some time ago and he gave me all the information about Watford and he explained to me that I am in the right place at the right time.

“For me, my team and my staff, it is now up to us to try to do the best we possibly can.”

Zola left Watford on good terms after resigning in December 2013, following a winless run of nine matches and the loss of five consecutive home games.

And Jokanovic said: “We spoke generally about everything and Gianfranco had a good impression of Watford.

“There was an important message he gave me; yes, you did not make a mistake arriving here.

“I am really happy here and around me is many facilities I can use and that is good for a football coach.”

Jokanovic spent half of his playing career in Spain and returned there after his two-year spell at Stamford Bridge, before retiring just a few months after signing for Ciudad Murcia.

The 46-year-old has been catching up with a few of his old friends from Chelsea since his return to England, including Gus Poyet, John Terry and Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink.

He made 53 appearances for the Blues after becoming Claudio Ranieri’s first signing at the club but failed to reproduce the form which earned him more than 60 caps for Yugoslavia and FR Yugoslavia.

Jokanovic was even referred to as ‘Joker’ by a section of the club’s fans but always handled himself with dignity, even after he was released.

Jokanovic said: “I am really happy because I am part of the history of Chelsea and this squad between 2000 and 2002. This part of my career was not the best part of my career and I tried to give them my best – and I did – but my best was not enough for them. I arrived a little bit late at 32-and-a-half and I suffered too much in English football.

“It was an amazing club, under the old owner Ken Bates. Now it is better but I remember the team and club as a big club.

“I was very happy there. I played more than 50 times and the supporters might not have been happy with me but I honestly tried to give them my best.

“I have been back many times for games at Stamford Bridge. It was my home and it was a club that gave me bread for myself and my family.

“I respect them so much and I followed their results wherever I was. In my short time I was there, the club and supporters respected me.”

Whilst Jokanovic has returned to England, his family have remained in Madrid as his three children are in full-time education.

The Hornets boss remains fully-focused on his new job but is looking forward to spending time with his family over Christmas.

He explained: “My eldest girl is going into university and my other two kids, a girl and a boy, are in school so with it being October, it is a little bit difficult for us at the moment.

“But my family live in Madrid and there are 20 planes a day [flying between there and London] so it won’t be difficult if they have a free week or a holiday in Spain.

“It is difficult for me to find the time over here in England so Christmas is probably going to be when we have some good family time and the moment where we can be together.”

Jokanovic appears to be a coach who likes to research the opposition and had watched every Watford game this season within ten days of being at the club.

The former Deportivo and Tenerife midfielder is still living in a hotel and he said: “I am still [only] travelling from point A, the hotel, and point B, the training ground. I have put £20 of petrol in my car and this should last me six months,” he joked.

“But it doesn’t matter because I am very happy and in the future I am sure I will find more time to enjoy London.

“I know south London more than north London [but] in the future I will find more time to enjoy the city.

“But at the moment I am happy in the distance between point A and point B.”

Jokanovic’s old manager at Stamford Bridge, Ranieri, was known as ‘the Tinkerman’ at Chelsea due to his desire to regularly rotate his team. But having made just one alteration to his starting XI on Tuesday night, it appears unlikely Jokanovic will earn a similar tag.

But he did stress: “This (changing the line-up) depends on the situation. This is not what I like doing but I can do it. At the moment I am trying to find what is best for us.

“Do I like rotating for no reason? No. But I do make changes if there are reasons for it. It is a logical answer.”

Jokanovic also believes he is adaptable when it comes to his managerial style.

When asked if he was a vocal coach or more likely to pull his players aside, he replied: “It depends on the situation. I am working with adults and this is an adult’s job. Sometimes I am working with kids but the kids must do an adult’s job. With adults you make conversation and I explain what I want and what the club wants from them. If they have difficulty understanding, then I can use other ways to explain.

“Sometimes you have to make decisions in one way and then another. The key is changing my way depending on the situation.”