First Team 6 days ago

Masina: “I Am Hungry, I Want More”

By Kevin Affleck

Adam Masina says he feels humbled and truly at home at Watford after discovering the fans have conjured up a song for him. 

The increasingly popular left-back has started the last five league games and was chuffed to find out after the home game with Everton that the supporters were chanting his name to the tune of Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes.

“It’s an honour,” he said. “I am very happy for this and glad. I want to say thank you a lot as the feeling this gives you is unbelievable. I didn't hear it [during the game] of course as I am too focused on the pitch. My friend told me they were singing a song about me and I was like, ‘Really?’ He showed me a video and I was like, ‘Wow’.”

The game against Everton also marked his first goal for the club, although the joy at achieving that milestone was tempered by the crushing disappointment of the result.

“It was incredible to score, especially at Vicarage Road,” he said. “That made it more amazing. I score very few goals so it is a moment of happiness. I want to make something else for the team, this time in a win. It wasn’t a great goal – it was a good goal. I was lucky as the ball went through two legs.

“I watched it two or three times just to rewatch this kind of action as this type of play can bring us a lot of success. We had a switch of play and a two-v-one with me and Deulofeu, and this action can be very important for us, so we have to continue to show our capacity to do this.”

The goal was confirmation of Masina’s growing role within the team and how he is starting to look really at home on the left-hand side of a back four. The 26-year-old is playing the best football of his 18-month career at Watford and benefitting from a regular run in the side under Nigel Pearson.

“It’s a good moment for me,” he said. “If I think of my performances here at Watford, for sure, yes [it is my best period]. I was a different player at Bologna as I was younger. I think differently about my football now. I realise I have to be focused in every single moment. I am hungry, I want more.

“I can't stop myself – I have to push every time. I am the kind of player that if I stop pushing, I am not myself, my best version. I'm trying to improve myself every day. I never want to think I am finished. This is the only way for me: to keep my mind on football and try to improve every day.”

The performance at Bournemouth in a 3-0 win was easily his best in a Watford shirt. 

“That is for the coach, fans and the journalists to say,” he said. “How we played was exactly the way we planned and studied. The team and the coaches helped me that day.”

He followed that up with a thunderous first-half showing at Villa Park in the next away day, with one crashing aerial first-half challenge on Frederic Guilbert showcasing all the attributes of the strapping 6ft 3in defender.

“The coach in the 23s at Bologna always told me I am this kind of player who can arrive and smash it,” he said. “He told me I am big, tall and fast. I studied this and I know this can be my strength and this can help when the opponent tries to switch play. I am trying to do my best and bring my personality to the team.”

Masina's 16 appearances this season have been the perfect riposte to the disappointment of missing out on an FA Cup final appearance. He was all set for the opportunity of a lifetime when José Holebas was sent off in the final game of the season against West Ham United, but his dreams were quickly dashed when the red card was overturned the following day, meaning the Italian national from Morocco went through the full range of emotions.

“I was excited because one of my dreams was to play in the final and try and win the FA Cup,” he said. “But unfortunately for me, I couldn't play. I couldn't say nothing. This was the choice of the coach. My aim was just to be ready. I couldn't complain. I was excited as I wanted to play in the final. I wasn't upset. I know this is football. I knew if we were to make something we had to make it together.”


Hear Masina’s compelling story in an exclusive interview with the Italian, to be found on club channels over the coming days. 

Ladies 6 days ago

Ladies: Chichester FAWNL Plate Quarter-Final Preview

After the fixture was twice delayed due to bad weather, the Golden Girls are hoping Sunday will be the day they can finally get back to action in the FA WNL Plate with their quarter-final tie at Chichester City.

Victories over Kent Football United and Oxford United have seen the Hornets reach this stage, and they will now be looking to join Middlesbrough in the semi-final.

Looking to prevent that scenario is a Chichester side which has had a tough time in the league this season. They have enjoyed some good results in this competition so far though and Watford will be well aware of their threats, having been made to battle for the three points in the league fixture.


Views from the Head Coach

For the first time since September, the Golden Girls are going into a game on the back of a defeat in the previous fixture.

“We look back on the Sunderland game with frustration and disappointment,” Clinton Lancaster told watfordfc.com. “We have moved on from that game now and intend on getting back to winning ways this weekend.

“We want to win this trophy, it’s as simple as that. I will be picking a squad this weekend that will be expected to go out there and get us into the semi-final.”

The Plate has been an incredibly valuable competition for Watford this season, allowing players in the squad to get minutes and to also give youngsters an opportunity.

“The thought process this Sunday will be to make some changes,” Lancaster continued. “This is because we have a big squad and it’s an opportunity to rotate.

“Anaisa [Harney] and Afiya [Johnson] will be back in the squad this weekend and both deserve to be, as they have been working incredibly hard in training.

“Whatever XI starts, they will be expected to get the result down there and get us through to the next round.”

With games against Hounslow and Crawley Wasps coming up in the league in February, it’s a big month for the Hornets. However, Lancaster’s attention at the moment is firmly on this weekend.

“The cup games will help us get ready for those league fixtures,” he said. “They are an opportunity for players to step up and put in a good performance, which could see them selected for the upcoming games.

“I am honestly not looking beyond Chichester at the moment. I am aware of our schedule, but all I want to do is get the result this Sunday.”

To get the desired victory, the Head Coach will know his side can’t afford to let standards slip. Watford were victorious in the league fixture back in November, but only by a one-goal margin.

“They are a good side with some good players within their squad,” Lancaster explained. “They aren’t in a position to win the league, so winning this competition will be big for their players and staff.

“We have to expect a tough test and we are not taking them for granted. It was difficult last time and I expect the same again on Sunday.”


Flashback

Chichester 2-3 Watford (November 3, 2019)

The two teams faced each other in the league only a few months ago. While Watford secured the three points, they had to dig deep in order to do so.

Katie O’Leary got the Golden Girls off to the perfect start, opening the scoring after just three minutes with a first-time effort.

The form book suggested this would be a comfortable win for the away side, but Chichester had other ideas and Megan Fox got her team back on level terms just a minute after falling behind.

Watford were denied a couple of times by Isobelle Foster in the Chichester goal, and then down the other end, the hosts struck. It was a fine goal to take the lead, as Gemma Simmonds’ chip made it 2-1 to Chichester.

Looking for an immediate response, Watford looked to have found it after Helen Ward had rounded the keeper, but some superb defending from Nicky Lake prevented a goal.

When another chance presented itself, the captain wouldn’t be denied. She pounced on a poor back pass and slotted it past the keeper to ensure the game was all square at the interval.

The Hornets stepped it up in the second half, looking for a crucial third goal. Hattie Kettle had an effort disallowed, while O’Leary hit the crossbar.

Eventually the pressure told, and Watford found a way through. It was O’Leary on the scoresheet again, as she netted her second of the afternoon with a curled strike into the top right corner.

Despite not being able to add to the tally, Clinton Lancaster’s side looked assured in the final stages and closed the game out in professional fashion.

GOLDEN GIRLS |  Wilson, Hill, Kettle (Beckett, 57), Huggins, Rolandsen, Scanlon (Stojko-Down, 61), Chandler, Vyse, Ward (C), O’Leary, Carid (Fatuga-Dada, 68)

Goals | O’Leary (3, 72), Ward (39)


Hosts

Chichester are now in their third season at this level, having won promotion from the South West Division back in 2016/17. It was a case of consolidation in their first season, as they finished in eighth place. They then pushed on the following campaign, challenging towards the top for the majority of it, eventually finishing third.

There were several changes at Chichester in the summer as they prepared for 2019/20. Sadie Blakely was announced as the new manager, replacing the departing Aaron Smith.

It wouldn’t be an easy task for Blakely. The majority of the players that featured regularly in the previous season departed, meaning she had to put a new side together.

The opening six games of 2019/20 would prove to be difficult, as they struggled at both ends of the pitch. The Lillywhites lost their opening five league fixtures, while also losing in the FA WNL Cup Determining Round to lower division opposition.

Next up was a trip to Gillingham and while they stopped the rot, it could have been even better. Megan Fox’s strike looked to have given them the win, but a goal late in second half stoppage time prevented Chichester from getting all three points.

The first victory did eventually arrive. It was in the FA WNL Plate, as they defeated Swindon Town 4-2 after extra-time. That was then followed up in the Last 16 with a win over Cheltenham Town.

Despite the success in this competition, they’ve struggled in the league in recent months. After 12 games, they’re currently bottom with a 0-2-10 record. The second point coming in a 0-0 draw with Hounslow.

If Chichester want to reach the next round of the Plate, they’ll have to do what they haven’t so far this season, and that’s beat a side from the Southern Division.


Last time out

Sunderland 2-0 Watford

GOLDEN GIRLS |  Wiggins, Hill, Beckett, Huggins, Fatuga-Dada, Chandler (Kikomeko, 72), Stojko-Down, Rolandsen, Ward (C), O’Leary (Vyse, 66), Carid (Richards, 85)

Chichester 4-0 Lewes Development

CHICHESTER | Rowlands, Capel-Watson, Phelps, Burke, Laczkovski, Fox (C), White, Bell, Simmonds, Wild (Cook, 65), Martins (Staple, 76)

Goals | Simmonds (28), Wild (40), Martins (49), Bell (89)


Information

Chichester City Ladies v Watford FC
FA WNL Plate Quarter-Final
Sunday February 16, 2pm
Selsey FC
PO20 0QG