By Johnny Edward:
Super Eagles and Watford striker Odion Ighalo has admitted that the loss of his father in April was one of the reasons for his goal drought in the English Premier League last season.
Ighalo who scored 13 goals in the first half of last season’s campaign for the Hornets went on seven-game goal droughts twice, from February 6 to March 13, and March 19 to May 8.
He however refused to use his father as an excuse for falling short in terms of goals.
"The second part of last season was not really good for me because I was going through so many challenges which really affected me but I don't want to give that as an excuse, ” Ighalo told Completesportsnigeria.com in an exclusive interview in Lagos.
"Sometimes strikers do go on a goal drought but nobody is going to kill themselves for that. (Arsenal striker Olivier) Giroud also went on some drought as well at Arsenal. These are good strikers who earn more than me.”
"I know why people were complaining because I took everyone unawares at the beginning of the season, so they all expected more. My father’s illness and all affected me."
On Walter Mazzarri’s appointment as Watford's new coach, the former Udinese and Lyn Oslo star is confident the Italian will make an immeasurable impact at the club if he stays on.
Ighalo has been linked with a summer move away from the Vicarage Road with several top clubs jostling for his signature, but he hints he will stay with Watford.
“Since I joined Watford I’ve played under five different coaches and I will offer my best to the team next season,” he added.
“Qique Sanchez Flores just signed for Espanyol (today) and I wish him all the very best. If the opportunity for me to play for him again comes I will gladly honour it.
"He is a very calm guy and It's painful he's not going to continue with Watford because the target now is to earn a Europa League spot due to the way we played in the first half of the season."
On the Nigerian Football Federation’s search for a new coach, the 26 year old was confident on the choice they will make.
He also backed the new set of players invited to the Super Eagles after their inability to qualify for the 2017 African Nations Cup.
“The NFF know what they are doing regarding the search for a new coach," Ighalo added. "At Watford I played under five different coaches and if they are going to bring in any coach be it foreign or indigenous coach, I will be prepared to work hard for the team under them.
"With the bunch of new players in the team I believe we have a great future ahead with the World Cup qualifiers coming up.
“Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Aminu Umar are all exciting talents not forgetting myself, Brown Ideye, Onazi Ogenyi and the rest of all.
“The team is young and we just need continuity coupled with more friendly games to gel more to rank among the best again."