Watford boss Walter Mazzarri has told Odion Ighalo to accept his decision to drop him from his starting lineup and be ready for the next time he is called upon.
The Nigeria international became a sought-after commodity after bagging 17 goals for the Hornets last season but he has managed just two so far in the current campaign.
Ighalo struck against Premier League rivals West Ham in September having opened his account for the season in the EFL Cup win over Gillingham.
But he has struggled in front of goal since then and lost his place as Mazzarri altered his formation for last weekend’s victory over reigning champions Leicester.
Having been linked with a move to Napoli and a host of Chinese Super League clubs, Ighalo’s future is now in even more doubt with the January transfer window on the horizon.
But Mazzarri has asked the former Granada forward to keep working hard and be ready to make an impact when called upon in the coming weeks as he is set to again be on the bench for Sunday’s visit of Stoke.
“There is no message,” Mazzarri replied when asked about Ighalo.
“What I do is watch my team during training, I study the next opponent and then make my decision on what is the best thing considering all these factors.
“Ighalo has been professional and accepted the decision. When he played, even when he didn’t score, he played as well as the whole team has done.
“When we lost and we played badly, he played badly with the whole team, there is no difference.
“I tell him he has to be ready when his moment comes.”
Saturday’s 2-1 win over Leicester continued Watford’s fine start to life under Mazzarri. They sit in eighth place in the table heading into this weekend.
But the Italian insists that victory has been consigned to the history books alongside earlier successes over the likes of Manchester United, as all eyes turn to Mark Hughes’ Potters.
“If you remember what I said at the beginning when I arrived, I said that we only have to think about us, we don’t think about the other teams,” added Mazzarri.
“We need to do the best on the pitch, game by game, and improve every day in training and in the games. We don’t have to look what position we are in but just concentrate on the following game.
“Believe me, you can even ask my players if you don’t, what I want to teach the players and what I’m trying to do is give them the mentality that immediately after we win one game we forget about it and think about the next one.
“We are already thinking about Stoke, they are a good team, not only strong but technical as well and we are only thinking about them now.”