Watford boss Gianfranco Zola 'lost it' after play-off winner

Gianfranco Zola

Watford boss Gianfranco Zola admitted he "lost it" when his side scored a late winner in the Championship play-off semi-final against Leicester.

Troy Deeney netted seconds after keeper Manuel Almunia saved a penalty at the other end to send Watford to Wembley.

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"It was great. We thought it was over," Zola told BBC Three Counties Radio.

"I lost it to be honest. I was running on the pitch chasing Troy. It was very emotional and important we pulled back together after the penalty."

With the scores level at 2-2 on aggregate, Leicester had the opportunity to close out the victory when Anthony Knockaert won a debatable penalty deep into injury time.

Almunia saved Knockaert's spot-kick and follow-up before launching an attack that ended seconds later with Deeney firing in to win the second leg 3-1 and the tie 3-2 on aggregate.

"Everybody went through a lot of emotions. I think what made the difference - apart from Almunia and Troy - was the desire not to give up," said former Chelsea striker Zola.

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"We were fortunate and good enough to transform a disaster into something glorious. It was outstanding. I could not believe it but I think we deserved it."

Zola opted to start with top scorer Matej Vydra despite a run of 13 games without a goal.

And the Czech striker repaid that faith by scoring twice, to take his tally to 22 for the season.

"I wanted to prove to him he is not in the team because of his 20 goals this season, but because he does something very important for the team," said Zola.

"I knew he was coming back. When somebody is playing like that you have to trust them."