Hodgson: “We Weren’t Good Enough”

By: Watford FC Staff

Hornets manager Roy Hodgson was disappointed with his side’s overall performance against Brighton & Hove Albion, but he insisted there were positives to take from the 2-0 defeat at Vicarage Road.

Neal Maupay opened the scoring for Brighton in the first half before Watford responded after the break, with Emmanuel Dennis smashing the crossbar from close range.

Despite that the Seagulls doubled their lead late on through Adam Webster, ensuring the points headed back to the south-coast.

And Hodgson admitted the Golden Boys will need to improve going into the remainder of the campaign if they are to be successful in their fight against relegation.

“We weren’t good enough to win the game and I thought our first-half performance was much worse than I was expecting it to be,” Hodgson said.

“Having analysed my first two games in charge, and having seen the players in training, we had high hopes. Certainly, in the first half, we did a lot to dash the hopes ourselves, but in the second half we started more brightly. We showed more confidence and played the sort of football I had been expecting.

“After we conceded the goal just before half-time, we felt the need to pile some attackers on the field in order to get a goal back which almost worked for us with Dennis’ shot against the crossbar.

“It also led to some counter-attacking opportunities for Brighton which they were able to take, which put the game beyond our reach with about 10 minutes to go. We dreamt of a better performance and dreamt of a better result, but you get the result you get at the end of the day.”

Ismaïla Sarr came off the bench to make his first Hornets appearance since November, and the 23-year-old gave the team a lift following his introduction alongside fellow substitute Imrân Louza.

Hodgson was pleased with the Senegal star’s contribution, considering he had only returned to the club from his Africa Cup of Nations triumph on Friday.

“[Sarr] is a player we are hoping will give us something a bit extra, but it was a big ask for him today,” he said.

“The thing with Sarr is that he only came back on Friday lunchtime from a long trip and was feeling very tired, and he did remarkably well to make himself available on the bench.

“I have quite a lot of faith in fans. I would have thought not many fans would have expected Sarr to have started the game when he got off a plane on Friday morning very tired and has not done one training session with the team.

“Going forward I have big expectations for him, and we as a team have an expectation of what we want to see from him.”

With a full week until the Golden Boys’ next fixture at Aston Villa (February 19), Hodgson is looking forward to seeing a reaction from his players in the lead up to the trip to Birmingham.

“In Brighton we played against a team that are notoriously difficult to play against and make you run around a lot, and are quite good at finding gaps,” he added.

“I don’t think they found that many. The worse thing was, I thought, was that we were unable to put them under enough pressure except for a couple of brief periods during the game when people did show their talent and make life difficult for opponents.

“We can’t do much more than put the attackers on the field and the bottom line is, when they are on the field and when they get the ball at their feet, they have to do something with it. We can’t magic up ways in which they can score goals and create chances. [Neal] Maupay didn’t have many chances in the game but the one he had, he took.

“A lot of things in our game weren’t very good, and as a result we got the type of result we didn’t want. We are going to have to be good at everything we do in the next 15 games if we are going to pull ourselves away from the relegation zone.”

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