sport

Charlton v Watford reaction

Gianfranco Zola has told Fernando Forestieri he will not play for Watford if he dives, but says he was unlucky to be sent off against Charlton.

The 22-year-old Udinese loanee was booked early in the match and was handed his marching orders after collecting his second yellow card in first-half stoppage time after referee Mike Dean adjudged him to have taken a tumble in the box.

Forestieri's dismissal did not cost Watford as they secured an impressive 2-1 Championship victory at The Valley on Tuesday night, but manager Zola warned his attacker not to dive - and to change his boots.

"I've seen the video and spoke to Fernando," Zola said. "He told me that he just slipped and that he didn't dive.

"If you watched the game we played at Huddersfield the other day, in the first half he kept slipping. I keep telling him off and telling him to change his boots.

"He is Argentinian and likes his boots without big studs and on this pitch it was slippy. He keeps doing the same mistake but I don't think he wanted to dive.

"It was a pity Mike saw it as a dive and it was disappointing as he was playing a good match."

Wednesday night's incident followed Manchester City's Sergio Aguero's comments that foreign players have a tougher time with referees than their British counterparts, but Zola would not be drawn when asked if he shared those views.

"I don't like to generalise but regarding Fernando he is so quick that sometimes he gets in front of defenders, they touch him and he is fouled," the Italian said.

"Sometimes he slips and because he goes to the floor many times they label his as a diver, but it is just that he is quicker than many defenders. If they foul him, they foul him.

"I told him that I don't want him diving and if I find out he is diving he is not going to play, but he said he didn't dive and I have faith in my players."

The decision overshadowed what was a fine victory in south London for the Hornets, who won courtesy of Tommie Hoban's deflected header and a fine Almen Abdi free-kick.

"I think it was a good performance in terms of resilience and not giving up," Zola added. "We defended throughout and I am very pleased and proud with the performance.

"A lot of players were tired but never gave up and for a manager you cannot ask for any more than that."

Counterpart Chris Powell was left wondering what could have been after a game that recently-promoted Charlton dominated.

"I always knew it was going to be tough," the Addicks boss said. "That is just how this league is.

"It is unforgiving and tonight we have been hurt by two set plays. I think Ben Hamer only had two saves to make and we've lost the game.

"We've had 15 chances but only taken one so you have to try and be as clinical as you can.

"It is going to be a tough old season, no doubt about it. There will be a few ups, a few downs but you've just got to keep going."