Watford’s Zola hails ‘big club’ Leeds United

Watford manager Gianfranco Zola.
Watford manager Gianfranco Zola.
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Watford manager Gianfranco Zola has described Leeds United as a club with a “very good foundation” and the “possibility to be great” ahead of the clash at Elland Road.

The Italian coach, who played for Chelsea while United owner Ken Bates was chairman at Stamford Bridge, claimed Leeds were well-positioned to fulfil their potential which peaked most recently towards the end of Zola’s playing career.

Zola recalled the United squad who reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2001 and admitted to being surprised at the club’s decline and gradual recovery in the past 11 years.

The 46-year-old said: “Unfortunately that’s the way of football. I played against that Leeds team.

“But still it remains a big team, a big club with a lot of potential. They have the possibility to be great because they have a very, very good foundation.”

Watford – currently tied with Leeds on 20 points – will be without suspended left-back Daniel Pudil at Elland Road, and Zola also has doubts about the fitness of centre-back Fitz Hall.

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