Sport Soccer

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Facing Premier League big guns does not faze Hornets, says Zuniga

Camilo Zuniga, centre, scored from the bench as Watford beat Manchester United on Sunday
Camilo Zuniga, centre, scored from the bench as Watford beat Manchester United on Sunday

Camilo Zuniga insists Watford's players are not concerned by coming up against Premier League superstars every week.

The Colombia international came off the bench on Sunday to put the Hornets ahead against Jose Mourinho's expensively-assembled Manchester United side, before being fouled in injury-time to allow Troy Deeney to blast home a penalty and seal a 3-1 win.

Etienne Capoue had given Watford the lead at Vicarage Road with his fourth goal in six games with Marcus Rashford equalising for a United side which struggled to create many chances throughout the contest.

Having already lost at home to Chelsea and Arsenal this season, the victory over United - Watford's first in 30 years - was also manager Walter Mazzarri's maiden home win since taking charge in the summer.

And Zuniga says that Mazzarri has instilled in his players the belief they should not be worried by the names or cost of the opposition and focus on playing their own game.

"That is the mentality from our manager, a winning mentality," he replied when asked about not being intimidated by the likes of Paul Pogba, Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

"We don't need to look at the name on the shirts against Manchester United or Chelsea or Arsenal, we just try and do our best - that is the manager's opinion on how to play football.

"In football today it doesn't matter what name is on the shirt, you just go in and be professional and give everything. Each game is different but we do the same, we go out and do our best."

Zuniga scored with just his second touch, having been introduced my Mazzarri with the scores level.

It was the 30 year-old's first Watford goal since he joined on loan from Napoli in the summer and his first goal for anyone since 2012.

The Colombia international, perhaps best known for his foul on Neymar in the 2014 World Cup quarter-final which left the Brazil star with a fractured bone in his back, has suffered from a bad knee injury himself in recent years, but has moved on since then.

"It was a long time since I last scored, I can't remember when, this one is very important," he said.

"I had an injury before and this is the first goal after the injury, I hadn't been well for a while. The injury was a long time ago and I'm fine and try and help the team when I get a chance to do it.

"It (the win) is not thanks to me, it is thanks to the team. From the first minute we were doing well to get the points.

Zuniga also revealed he and Mourinho shared a joke as he prepared to come on and help dish out a third defeat of the week for United.

"I know him from Italy," explained Zuniga.

"We just shook hands and talked about the past, but I was just thinking about doing my best for Watford. We were just joking, asking how each other was."

Asked if Mourinho spoke and shook hands after his pivotal appearance, Zuniga said: "Yes.

"When I came on, I wanted to give everything against Man United, when I go on the pitch I am professional."

Press Association

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport