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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Sep 24, 2013

Zola flattered by Sunderland link

Watford manager Gianfranco Zola has insisted he is happy to stay at the club despite being linked with the vacant job at Sunderland.

Loan players have helped Gianfranco Zola's Watford to third place in the Championship
Gianfranco Zola spent two years in charge at West Ham between 2008 and 2010.

- Randall: Price of failure

Zola, 47, has guided Watford to fifth in the early Championship table, and they are the top scorers in the division.

The Hornets missed out on promotion back to the Premier League on the final day of last season when they lost at home to Leeds United, and they were then beaten by Crystal Palace in the play-off final.

Sunderland, rock bottom of the Premier League with one point from five games, are searching for a new manager after sacking Paolo Di Canio on Sunday evening, and the bookmakers have installed former West Ham boss Zola as one of the early favourites to replace him.

Two other former Chelsea players, Roberto Di Matteo and Gus Poyet, also feature prominently in the running for the job.

Zola told Sky Sports News: "Of course I am flattered that I have been considered, but I am really happy over here and like what I am doing. I think my growth as a manager has been massive, and so I want to fulfil this task that I will be here."

Kevin Ball will act as interim Sunderland manager after previously filling the caretaker role in 2006. He said: "The situation last time was slightly different to this time, but it did give you an experience, whether it be for one or ten games.

"I enjoyed it last time and I hope I feel the same way about this one as well. It allows you to say: 'Well, I have done it before, it's not something that's unexpected'. I have coached for ten years, so within that you do so many things that a manager would do anyhow -- it's not a fantastically unbelievable step."

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