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Zola resigns at Watford

Gianfranco Zola has resigned as Watford manager after a run of five successive home defeats in the Championship.

Zola led the club to last season's Championship play-off final, but Saturday's defeat to Sheffield Wednesday left them in mid-table - as close to the bottom three as to the top six.

And a statement on the Watford website confirmed the Italian's resignation, after 18 months in the job, had been accepted "with great sadness".

In an open letter to supporters, Zola wrote: "I am writing this with a very heavy heart and after a lot of consideration, to tell you that I have resigned.

"First of all, this decision has not been made quickly. I mentioned after the game on Saturday that I wanted to think about things overnight and that is exactly what I have done.

"I must place Watford Football Club first in my thoughts and it is for this reason that I have taken my action.

"I feel that it is in the best interests of the team that somebody new is given the chance to bring the success which we have all hoped for and worked very hard for.

It is for a variety of reasons, and not just over one matter or one moment, that I feel this is the right decision for me, in the best interests of the club - and I know I can trust you, the supporters, to respect my decision fully."