Chelsea legend convinced me to join Watford, reveals Hornets boss

Slavisa Jokanovic received advice from Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola before agreed to become Watford’s new head coach.

The 46-year-old was appointed the Hornets fourth head coach of the season last week, and is set to lead the Hertfordshire-based side out for the first time this weekend, with the co-league leaders facing Sheffield Wednesday.

Having been the latest in a long line of managerial changes since the departure of Gianfranco Zola last season, Jokanovic, who endured a two-year spell with Premier League side Chelsea during Zola’s career in West London, has promised to stabilise the club - whilst bringing the return of top flight football to Vicarage Road.

With league titles won in Serbia and Thailand, Jokanovic has an unknown reputation in England, although an impressive record throughout his career, and he told the Standard that he is planning to fight for his right to manage the Hornets.

“I am ready for fighting and working,” he said.

“I want to be here for a long time and I expect I will make a good job. It is a strange situation but the club need someone to drive the ship and they choose me.

“Is it a worry what has happened so far this season? No. This sort of situation happens many times in football. If I have a message for the fans it is arrive to see us in the ground. I am sure they are waiting to see something. Then you can understand if my message is there.”

With the manager’s seat something of a poisoned chalice at Vicarage Road in the current regime, Jokanovic took advice from his former teammate Zola as to whether he should take the job.

“Gianfranco is a great guy,” continued the Serb, who is the fourth permanent manager since Zola departed Hertfordshire in December 2013.

“He explained to me that you are in the right place at the right time. Now it depends on me and the people around me.”

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