Preview: Ismaël Speaks Ahead Of Huddersfield Clash

By: Watford FC Staff

Valérien Ismaël spoke to the media ahead of Watford’s home Sky Bet Championship clash against Huddersfield Town tomorrow (February 24, 3pm KO).

Read what the Head Coach had to say below...

On players' availibilty:

I am pleased that Jez [Ngakia] can join the team now. He played 45 minutes last week with the 21s and he has trained the whole week without any issue. He is available to be selected.

[Vakoun] Bayo will need more time, so we expect him to be back with the team next week. The only ones that will miss the game are [Ryan] Porteous and Bayo. Everyone else is available at the moment.

On the performances of the young players:

We spoke about the love we need to give them, and we spoke about consistency. They have got the potential; they have shown that. But consistency is what we have missed this season.

We are pleased that they are able to perform and show up, and we have enjoyed some great goals so far this season, but we need to continue and reach the next level. [We need] the consistency to stay on that level and to make sure we stay on top of it.

On scoring the most goals from outside-the-box in the top four English divisions:

It is something we have spoken about months ago. Especially with Huddersfield away, we showed a lack of desire to score. We needed to take more risks to score goals, especially when the opponent is really deep, then you have to find other solutions.

After you get the first and second ones, the confidence is there. It is now definitely something in our game and our way to play.

On facing the Terriers with a new manager in the dugout:

This isn’t the first time this season! In this case, I don’t think it’s that bad as we know Huddersfield better than him.

We have faced them and have seen them throughout the season so we know exactly what is possible with their squad. We know their clear patterns that we will see happen tomorrow.

On the current run of home form:

It’s now a clear challenge for us. If you see our record at home, our last win was against Norwich at the end of November. We have only taken two out of a possible 18 points - this is the gap for us in the table. Our away record is really good, but the home record must change.

We need to ensure we are doing the right thing to win the game, having the right attitude and mentality. I think this is our main message now, that we have to change the record.

I think we put in really good performances against Southampton, Leicester and Ipswich at home. But we need too many chances to score at home. The second one is that we put ourselves in a really good position and then the last pass and the final decision from the player is not good enough.

Our away record is much better, maybe we don’t create a lot of chances, but we are more ruthless. The first chance will be a goal. This is now what we need at home.

On starting home games quicker:

It’s never that easy. The opponent always has a gameplan, so I think it’s more the case to see the picture and see our opponent. As soon as you get the picture right, you have a better chance to perform.

The game is always about the first goal. Some games we have scored early but we didn’t win the game at the end. We need to make sure we are on the point from the very first until the very last minute. If we are scoring in either half, we will be happy. I want to see a Watford team with a massive desire to win the game.

On Emmanuel Dennis:

He has been training for four weeks with consistency every week. He’s come on every game and we can see his improvement.

On the difference of having a clear week:

Oh massively, you cannot imagine. It is just you are not living out of your bag. We had some days where I came back home but I didn’t open my bag, and I take the bag the next day straight away to go to the hotel, or just to refresh, to wash my clothes.

It is nice just to be refreshed, to sleep in your own bed, and to wake up and have a proper day, to have some meetings, to work with the players, to calm down, and to have a proper build-up to the next game. It was enjoyable.

I expect to see a difference, maybe at the start of the game. With last week, the clean sheet and the win, and a full week to train, we have a higher expectation to win the game.

On young players being rumoured with moves away:

That was one of the main aims when I came to Watford, to develop the young players. This is the reward for all the work we have put into them. Now it’s all about to stay that way and are we able to make the next step for them? Are you satisfied when the season's done, or do you want to push for more?

It’s about the desire and putting in the extra miles to do more. I haven’t seen any signs of distraction from anyone.

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Click HERE for more information on how to follow the Sky Bet Championship clash from home.

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