First Team 09/11/2019

Deulofeu: “We Have To Continue This”

Gerard Deulofeu did the business on a Friday night again, making one and scoring another to inspire the Hornets to that all-important first league win of the season.

The Spaniard guided in the first after just 76 seconds to register Watford's second fastest ever goal in the Premier League (Étienne Capoue got the quickest against Leicester after just 33 seconds in November 2016) and then teed up the game-clinching second for Andre Gray. It was a cameo that had shades of the one he produced against Cardiff last season and set-up a first league win since April.

“Finally, it’s a long time without a win and now we can enjoy it,” he told Sky Sports. “We have been working really hard for it. Today was a big final for us because if we don’t get the three points we could remain like this for the season. It was really important.”

Deulofeu came sprinting out for the warm-up and screamed “Vamos”, meaning come on. He was clearly in the mood and he started the game quickly and aggressively. After winning the ball back from kick-off, the Spaniard won back possession, drifted through the Canaries’ defence and slotted the ball past Tim Krul in the home goal.

“It was early, I think it was my first shot,” he said. “You have to be ready and we made good pressure on the defenders so I could score the first goal. After we finished it with a second goal from Andre [Gray] to get the three points and we have to continue this.”

The team were forced to be resolute out of possession, especially after going down to 10 men with Christian Kabasele receiving a second booking just after the hour mark. Struggling to talk over the travelling Hornets fans singing his name, Deulofeu discussed the tactical approach to deal with Norwich’s style of play.

“We know they want to play from behind and we know we have to be compact,” he said. “We know sometimes we have to put on the pressure to get to their goal and that’s what we did with the first pressure.”

This approach helped the Hornets claim their third clean sheet from the last five Premier League games, a clear sign of improvement considering they only managed to keep one clean sheet in the 19 previous games. This set-up means one or two moments of magic from Deulofeu at the other end should be enough to win the points.

“I’m nearer the goal and I can get more chances. I run a lot but I think I can run a little less than a winger,” he joked.

First Team 08/11/2019

Sánchez Flores: “It Was Our Time”

Aside from the obvious benefits of picking up a first Premier League at the 12th attempt, Quique Sánchez Flores believes three points gained at Carrow Road tonight will also serve as a timely confidence boost for his side as they attack the rest of 2019/20.

Speaking after Gerard Deulofeu and Andre Gray goals defeated Norwich – a team who the Hornets now leapfrog in the table – the Head Coach said: “It is an important win for everyone at Watford.

“We are training hard but you need to believe, and to believe you need to win. To win you need to fight and to want and when all these things are put on the pitch you have more possibilities to win.

“I hope this result can help the players to realise all the things we repeat to them every week – that they are much better, they can fight and they can do more.” 

It was a Deulofeu strike as early as 76 seconds that settled Watford’s nerves in Norfolk, and after extending the advantage through substitute Gray after the break, the Hornets had to see the game out a player down following the sending off of Christian Kabasele for a second booking.

“We are really happy with the match and with how fast we scored,” said Sánchez Flores.

“We suffered a little bit more because in the last 30 to 35 minutes we were playing with one player less and the team was a little bit different in the last moments, but I’m happy with the performance of the players – not conceding goals, scoring quick and playing with positive energy.

“That’s now three clean sheets, which is really good, and I hope we can create this kind of spirit of a solid team playing well because in some parts of the first half I think we played very well.”

Sánchez Flores had talked up the game’s significance in the build-up to a match between what were the division’s bottom two teams, but rather than suffer under the weight of pressure the Hornets responded in a show of real character and purpose.

“We knew this was a significant match and it felt like a final,” said the Spaniard.

“We tried to give our energy with spirit and tried to put soul into the pitch, knowing that they also needed to win like us and were playing at their home with a lot of supporters in a noisy stadium. But it was our time to show something else and to get some steps up was important.

“I want to say that this win is especially for the fans. I want to repeat that from me, my staff and my players, because they are always there and they support and support and support since a long time ago.”