WATFORD goalkeeper Manuel Almunia reflected on yesterday’s goalless draw with Cardiff City with a slight sense of regret, but pointed to another clean sheet as a real positive for the Hornets.
Speaking in the tunnel after the final whistle, he told watfordfc.com: “We can be happy with the clean sheet and the defensive work but I believe in the first half we could have played with more intensity, more pressure, more precision with the ball because we didn’t play as well.
“I believe we could have won this game so we’re a bit disappointed but we have to be happy that the team is doing well defensively.
“We have to carry on and keep working like this.”
On another day the Hornets may have taken a second half lead when Troy Deeney’s header appeared to be creeping into the bottom corner of David Marshall’s net.
But the Cardiff keeper excellently tipped the ball round the post, producing a save which Almunia said summed up the quality the npower Championship league leaders have in all positions.
“He made a good save,” admitted the Watford captain.
“I thought it was going to be a goal but this is the thing – when a team is top of the table every aspect of their team is good.
“They have a good goalkeeper, good defenders, they’re strong, quick and a very complete team.
“When a team has a season like they have it’s difficult. They’re luckier, they’re stronger, they feel good, they feel confident and everything’s positive.
“When a team is up going to the Premier League automatically like Cardiff look like they may, everything works well in a positive way.”
It was a welcome return to the Golden Boys’ goal for the ex-Arsenal stopper, having missed the last six fixtures with a hamstring injury.
“It’s been too long for me because I wanted to be back very early,” said Almunia.
“I tried to come back too early after the injury and I got another injury, and it’s been so long for me.
“It’s been a nightmare but time goes very quick and I’m back and I hope I can help the team until the end of the season.”
Despite failing to pick up all three points against Malky Mackay’s Bluebirds, Almunia remained confident Watford can push on in their quest for promotion to the Premier League.
“We have shown we can face any team, we can beat any team, and we are a very solid team with quality, with strength, with many positive things,” he said.
“We cannot be scared about being at the top, it’s a beautiful thing. We’ve been working very hard during the whole season and we deserve to be where we are.
“It’s a good moment for the club but we have to take it naturally.
“We don’t have to put unnecessary pressure on our shoulders, this is what we’ve been fighting for all year and we have to enjoy it, but always focusing on our work.”