Zola hails new era at Watford

Hornets boss delighted; Eagles manager deflated after defeat

Gianfranco Zola: Wants his Watford player to be in top condition

Dougie Freedman: Felt his Palace side lost their focus

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Gianfranco Zola paid tribute to his new-look Watford side as he celebrated a winning start to his Championship campaign.

Two late goals from Swiss midfielder Almen Abdi and Czech striker Matej Vydra, both on loan with the Hornets from Udinese, sealed three points for Watford, who were trailing 2-1 against opponents Crystal Palace with just two minutes of the match remaining at Selhurst Park.

Owen Garvan had twice put the hosts ahead in the first half with Martin Taylor equalising for Watford.

But Abdi levelled again with a 25-yard strike before Vydra sent the visiting fans wild with the winner deep into stoppage-time.

"I'm delighted for everybody. We worked hard and it was a good victory," said Zola.

"The two new players who scored are quality players. They have shown it today. Hopefully that is just the beginning.

"A draw would have been a fair result. We didn't play as well in the second half as the first, but we got the two goals that made the difference.

"Matej Vydra is a player who has the qualities to make a good impression on this team. He is going to get better and better because he is still learning.

"He needs time to learn about English football so we will give him that time to improve.

"The type of football we need to play is expansive so the players need to be in top condition. Give me time. I'm learning a lot from my players and learning a lot from this division.

"How far we can go is difficult to say, but we will give it (promotion) a go."


Meanwhile, Palace manager Dougie Freedman was left deflated with the closing stages of the match after thinking his side had done enough to secure a point.

"The last 10 minutes were obviously disappointing.

"I don't think we did enough to win the game but I thought we had done enough to get a draw.

"But when it went 2-2 the momentum was with Watford. But it was a great effort from the lads.

"At 2-1 up we had a couple of half chances to kill the game so it's disappointing.

"We just couldn't defend as a whole team in the end to come away with the points.

"A couple of our players will need time to settle in but as a defensive unit we have to be better than that to win games.

"We didn't focus on our jobs as well as we should have. There are no excuses and we will move on quickly.

"The challenge for us now is to bounce back very quickly."