Football - Zola faces up to a change

Aberdeen striker Calvin Zola admits he may need to change his style of play if he is to keep himself on the right side of Scotland's referees.

The Burton Albion frontman has cut a frustrated figure for much of his six-month stint with the Dons having netted just three times in 17 appearances.

And Pittodrie boss Derek McInnes admits the burly striker's mood has hardly been helped by his continual run-ins with the match officials who have taken issue with his combative style.

Zola, 28, has given away 22 fouls so far but says he may have to tone down his approach if he is to avoid adding to the three bookings he collected this term.

He told Red TV: "The treatment I get from referees up here is new to me. In 10 or 11 years in the game I have never experienced anything like it. My game hasn't changed much in that time and I am what I am.

"I've never had any problems at all with the way I play. But I've come to a new league and new referees and it is different. I'm penalised at times when I'm barely doing anything.

"It makes me think I should change my style of play a little but that isn't easy because I've been playing this way for so many years. It's a different league but maybe I need to adapt."

McInnes said his player had been "harshly treated" by officials but Zola said he will now leave it for his manager to argue it out with the whistlers.

"I do get frustrated sometimes," he said. "But I need to let the manager deal with it [and the referees]. I sometimes think it's unfair because as soon as I do something, it's a foul.

"But I just have to get on with it. Hopefully if I change my style it will pay off."

Aberdeen kicked off a busy festive period by securing a William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round slot with a 1-0 away win at Partick.

They now face St Johnstone in Perth on Saturday but Zola is not concerned by the heavy workload that will see them contest seven games over the next four weeks.

"The festive schedule is always good," he said. "Any footballer will tell you they would rather play than train so the more games the better.

"Some people may be rested and some others will come in. But with the squad we have we should look forward to it because we want to win every game we play."