Under-18's 28/08/2019

Under-18: “We Played With Mature, Tactical Heads”

By David Anderson

The Under-18s came from behind to beat Barnsley 2-1 away from home and continue their perfect start to the season on Saturday (August 24).

On a scorching day in South Yorkshire, the youth team showed maturity and cleverness to recover from a first-half deficit, avoid fatigue and take the three points, according to Lead Coach Simon Clark.

“We played with really mature, tactical heads which is really pleasing at Under-18s,” said Clark. “It was super-hot, but they’ve got to deal with that, that’s the same as inside Vicarage Road. They’ve got to play a little bit smarter because, in the end, Barnsley were absolutely flagging and we looked as if, had the game gone on, we would have scored a third.”

The Hornets went 1-0 down after a direct free-kick was parried out and the defence switched off, but turned the game around thanks to two goals in 15 minutes in the second period.

Rio Campbell had only been on the pitch for two minutes when he equalised just before the hour mark, and Sonny Blu Lo-Everton put the away side ahead shortly after, picking the ball up and skipping past a defender before drilling a shot into the far corner.

“We made a few tweaks at half-time about our first pass and making sure that we were tidier on transition, making sure when we have the ball it’s about passing onto the highest line possible,” said Clark.

“Not only after we equalised did we go on and get the winner, we really took control of the game. We moved the ball, kept the ball and took all the sting out of their reaction to going 2-1 down. That’s good for Under-18s because we’ve understood what it takes away from home to tactically win a game.”

The Under-18s won their first two games 4-0 and 5-1, but Clark was just as impressed with this performance because of the maturity shown by the side.

“When we did go 2-1 up we took complete control and totally nullified their press and their possession,” he said. “We strung together 15, 16, 18 passes to keep the ball and keep them away from our goal, which is really clever when it’s 30 degrees and you’ve been running around for 75 minutes.”

HORNETS: Baptiste (GK), Bloome (Maclean, 55), Conteh, Lawal, Matthews, Burchell, Harrison, Horsewood (Campbell, 55), Thompson, Lo-Everton, McKiernan (Manning, 70).

Subs not used: Evans, Hunter

First Team 28/08/2019

Welbeck: “It Was Great To Be Back Out There”

By David Anderson

Danny Welbeck started his first game since November last night, helping the Hornets to Carabao Cup victory nine months after he was sidelined with injury.

The England international injured his ankle when playing for Arsenal against Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League, but played his first 90 minutes since October 4 in Watford's 3-0 win against Coventry City.

“It was great to be back out there and start a game after such a long time out,” said the forward. “It’s been a difficult period for me but it’s something I’ve overcome and I’m really looking forward to pushing on from here now. I’ve got that first 90 minutes under my belt and I’m looking to build on it.”

Welbeck came off the bench when the Hornets faced Everton and West Ham in the league but was happy to see his new team get off the mark for the season with a win this time out.

“It was great to get the win,” he said. “Coventry have had a great start to the season and we’ve not done too well so we knew coming into this game it was going to be a difficult tie.

“But we had to focus on the game, we knew they were going to be a good side, so we knew we had to match everything they were going to give and play our football. In the end we started creating chances and scored our goals.”

Next up for the Hornets is a return to Premier League action at St James’ Park on Saturday, as Watford face Newcastle United. For Welbeck, it’s all about getting a result.

“It’s not great, we’ve got no points on the board so it’s something we need to build upon and going into the weekend,” said the 28-year-old. “Now we’ve put in a good performance and we want to build on that. Our heads are now focused on Newcastle and the weekend.”