Zola surprised by Watford's promotion charge

The Italian admits that a play-off final date at Wembley was not part of the plan for this season but insists that the Hornets are ready to overcome Crystal Palace
Watford manager Gianfranco Zola admits that even he has been surprised by his team's charge to the Championship play-off final.

The Hornets take on Crystal Palace at Wembley on Monday in a game widely dubbed "the £120 million match", with the winner earning a lucrative and prestigious place in the Premier League next term.

But, while Zola confesses no-one at the club planned for promotion this season, he insists that his team are ready to make the most of their chance.

7/5 Watford are 7/5 with BetVictor to beat Crystal Palace within 90 minutes in the play-off final
"It wasn't our plan for this year but it happened," he told Goal. "We're very happy, we deserve to be where we are and we're going to do our best to make sure it happens.

"We are OK; we're doing everything we have to do to prepare for the game. Right now no-one is feeling nervous. That might happen later but, for the moment, it's fine.

"We've had a lot of time to calm down from [the semi-final]. It was a great experience for all of us and we learned a lot. We've been through a lot of emotions but we came out of it in a really good way and we're delighted for the opportunity we have now.

"[Promotion] would be a fantastic achievement for me, for all of us. It would be the culmination of a great year."

Palace are formidable opponents, having impressively seen off Gus Poyet's Brighton in the semi-finals, and Zola is full of praise for the job that opposite number Ian Holloway has done at Selhurst Park.

"I think he's done a very good job, a great job," the Italian enthused. "Palace are a very good team and we respect them very much. I hope the better team wins. If it's us, then good, but if it's them we'll applaud because that's the way football is."