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No regrets over Zigic from Clark

17 February 2013

Lee Clark does not regret dropping Nikola Zigic from Birmingham's matchday squad despite their convincing 4-0 defeat at home to promotion-chasing Watford.

Clark grabbed the headlines on Thursday having angrily hit out at the Serbian striker's work-rate and attitude during training this week, insisting Zigic put in "possibly the worst training session in terms of a professional footballer I have ever come across".

Asked whether Zigic could have made a difference on Saturday with Marlon King also injured, Clark responded: "Who knows? We've ended up losing the game but I've not changed my opinion one little bit. The decision I made was correct and proper, the principles are the same.

"Every day I've got high standards and there will never be one player bigger than this football club. There's been a split opinion about it - there's some who have said it's the right thing and some have said my man-management is in question because I should keep this in house.

"Well, I've kept it in house because this was the fourth time I've had to have this conversation with him. There's only so much you can keep in house before you have to go down another route. I don't think I was particularly strong, I just said what I had seen. I think there was a bit of a hullabaloo made of it, really. Does the tail wag the dog?"

Regardless of Zigic's absence, promotion-chasing Watford were simply in a different class and their slick, intricate attacking play was too much for Blues to handle. Birmingham-born Troy Deeney, a boyhood Blues fan, bagged a brace either side of a solo effort from man of the match Ikechi Anya, who also set up Deeney for both his goals.

Almen Abdi then fired home a fourth late on as Gianfranco Zola's Hornets moved up one place to third in the npower Championship table.

"It was a very good result, a good performance," Zola said. "I think there were some spells in the game which we were really good, I rate it one of the best performances considering the (injury) difficulties we had. But I do think we've played some better games than this."

Deeney's brace takes his tally to 13 for the season and the striker, who is out of contract in the summer, was recently linked with a move to Premier League side Aston Villa.

But Zola, despite admitting he could play at a higher level, insists Watford are in talks to keep hold of Deeney's services. "We want to keep him, I believe he wants to stay so we're working on getting him signed," the Italian added. "He's 24 years old and a player who has been improving game by game. I don't see why he can't play at a different level"

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