Walter Mazzarri says Odion Ighalo still a key player for Watford
By Charlotte Bates
Last Updated: 01/12/16 6:31pm
Odion Ighalo still has a future at Watfrod despite losing his place in the team, manager Walter Mazzarri has said.
Ighalo scored 13 Premier League goals before the turn of the year last season and his performances resulted in a £37.5m bid from Chinese club Shanghai SIPG in the summer.
But the 27-year-old Nigeria international found the back of the net on just two occasions in the second half of Watford's campaign, and he has scored just once in the league this term.
"I speak about what I know and I speak about what I have seen so far this season," Mazzarri said. "He is a player that I like and I trust very much.
"When he was in a good condition at the beginning of the year he played, and started the games. Of course he is a player that we need.
"He is in competition at the same level with all the other strikers, and if we want to grow as a club and in the future go further in competitions, then you need to have at least six important strikers and Ighalo is one of them."
Mazzarri's side head to West Brom on Saturday following a disappointing 1-0 defeat against Stoke at Vicarage Road that saw a disappointed Mazzarri leave the pitch without shaking Stoke manager Mark Hughes' hand.
"I don't want people to continue talking about things that have little do with football," said the manager when asked about the incident.
"It was a nervous game and at the end we got a red card in the exact moment where we were pushing Stoke for a goal.
"I went inside in order to avoid the referee, and you can ask Mark Hughes, I went to his dressing room and I gave him my hand there."