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Football League

Championship play-off final: Gianfranco Zola reveals ambitious owners want to take Watford into Europe


Gianfranco Zola has revealed that Watford’s ambitious owners want to take the club all the way to European football, ahead of Monday’s Championship play-off final.

Watford are just 90 minutes away from the Premier League, but the Pozzo family, who bought the club last summer, want to take them even further than that.

When asked whether Europe was the aim, Zola confirmed the Pozzo’s plans.

“Yes, that’s what they want to do. They want Watford to become an established team in the Premier League and with time we are going to be. Our ambition is to be a European team. There is a long way to go. Don't forget that we are in the Championship. That is the type of people they are.”

The Pozzos have turned another relatively small team, Udinese, into regular European competitors. “The system does work,” Zola said. “They are people that know what they are doing. They will bring here their expertise and experience to make sure they are going in the right direction.”

There is even a chance Watford could be the Pozzo’s priority next season, ahead of even Udinese and Granada.

“I believe there is a very good chance of that but this is not down to me to answer, but I believe that they have a lot of expectation and interest in the club.”

Regardless of which division Watford are playing in next season, they will have access to the Pozzo family’s famous scouting system, which unearthed players such as Alexis Sanchez.

“We will be working with their scouting service,” Zola confirmed, “and we will be working to make this team better whether we are in the Championship or the Premier League. That's for sure. 100 per cent.”

But Zola was confident that his team could survive in the Premier League next season, and that their youth would help them to improve.

“The first step will be to make sure that we are working for a better level,” Zola said. “This team can survive in the Premier League, I have no doubt. But it will have to be improved in certain things but I think it has the basis for being able to survive in the Premier League.”

“Don't forget that we are a team that has players who are 20, 21, 22 and for many of them, it's their first year here so next year they will be even better.”