Doucouré | “We Can Beat Them Again”

 Watch the full Premier League interview with Doucouré above free, no sign-up required. 

Watford made it back-to-back wins on Saturday against a tough Newcastle side at St James’ Park and Abdoulaye Doucouré, as he has done for most of this season, played a pivotal part controlling the Hornets' midfield.

The two victories ended a run of three consecutive defeats for the Golden Boys and speaking yesterday with Will Dalton for Premier League Productions, Doucouré believes confidence among the team is high and should help them carry their performances into tonight’s clash with high-flying Manchester United.

“We were very good, we played a very good game against West Ham and now Newcastle as well. We are confident, we’re playing against Manchester United so we have to carry on in our way.” He said.

During the current winning spell Will Hughes has been a shining light for Watford, slotting into an attacking midfield role well and impressing with his performances. He opened the scoring both against West Ham and on Tyneside. 

He’s struggled for game time early this season however has started the last three games for the Hornets and Doucouré believes Hughes’ talent and the work put in on the training ground are the main reasons behind the Englishman’s successful spell.

“Since he came into the side he’s showed what he can do he’s very good. He’s a good guy as well, he works very hard at training, so I’m happy for him.”

Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United will visit Vicarage Road this evening. The Red Devils have won four of their last five Premier League games, sit in second place in the table and boast an impressive record of losing just once to Watford in over 31 years.

However, that one defeat came just 14 months ago and Doucoure admitted despite the world class talent on display for the opposition, it’s a feat something he and his teams are certainly capable of replicating under the lights this evening.

“Last season we beat them at home but this year they are better. They are second in the table and they have very good players.

“Maybe we can do something of course, we are confident, we’re playing at home and we want to achieve something. Of course we can beat them again.”

One player Doucouré is particularly looking forward to facing is his fellow Frenchman, Paul Pogba. The Manchester United man is considered among the world’s elite midfielders and was at one point the world’s most expensive footballer. The challenge that awaits our midfield dynamo is one he believes gives him the perfect opportunity to test himself.

“I like to play against the best players, of course Pogba is one of the best. I like to play against these types of players.

“I know Paul, he is my friend but it’s a big game and I believe I can improve and can know where I am alongside this type of player.”

It’s a testament to Doucoure’s performances so far this season that the Frenchman can be compared to the Manchester United man. He has been excellent for the Golden Boys this season and that’s not just with his ability to keep the ball. 

The former French youth international has already scored four goals so far this season, his strike at Southampton the one that sticks out. And after already bettering his tally of just one from the last campaign, Doucouré told us just how he has managed to find his shooting boots.

“I have a lot of confidence and I have a lot of luck as well, which you need. I’ve played more games, I’ve taken my chances and I’ve tried to shoot more than last year, that’s it.” Doucoure admitted. 


Silva | “He Is My Opponent”

José Mourinho was in prickly mood in his pre-match press conference. Watch above as the United boss discusses Paul Pogba, the Hornets and Romelu Lukaku. 

Marco Silva has sought to play down the fascinating Portuguese subplot involving him and Jose Mourinho tonight, insisting it will not distract him from the task of toppling the Europa League winners.

Silva and Mourinho have become good friends, particularly since Silva moved to England, and the Watford Head Coach revealed he spoke to the Manchester United manager before accepting the role at Vicarage Road last summer. 

Yet Silva cites the League Cup win he achieved over Mourinho's side at the KC Stadium earlier this year, and the goalless Premier League draw he masterminded at Old Trafford, as evidence that he is able to shelve his friendship with his countryman and focus on the tough job of getting a result against the Red Devils.

“We'll chat before the match and after the match but when the game starts, it's Watford versus Manchester United,” he said. “It's a very good relationship. He's a friend, he's a very good person but he is my opponent.”

He's also something of a mentor to Silva who has been favourably compared to Mourinho in the way he sets his team up and goes about his business.

“It's a good sign when you are compared with a good coach, especially what he did in the last 15 years,” said Silva. “I need to improve every day and I need to build my career.

“My focus in this moment is to do my best, like I did this morning, like I'll do tomorrow. I'm sure if I keep going, doing my work, many good things can come in the future. But, for me, it's about the next day, the next training, the next match.”

And what a match, the visit of the most successful side in Premier League history. The Golden Boys showed they could topple one of the big boys when they beat Arsenal, and they need to summon all that spirit again to give second-place United a run for their money under the lights at Vicarage Road. A repeat of last season's 3-1 win would have The Vic rocking.

“It's a very good game for us against a big team,” said Silva. “We want to win and take a good result. It's a tough game against a very good team with very, very good players. They did very well in the transfer market.”

Watford's didn't do too bad either, recruiting 10 players who have been beautifully knitted together by Silva. The Head Coach's tactical acumen, in setting up those players, was evident again on Saturday. He spotted a weakness down Newcastle's right side and got his players to flood that channel. Marvin Zeegalaar and Richarlison made hay, creating all three goals from the left flank. Expect Silva to try and pull another rabbit out of the hat against United in what is likely to be an intriguing tactical battle.

“We did our work, we've analysed the Man United team," he said. "They are strong but we analyse some areas where we can achieve some important things. We will prepare very well and respect our opponent. I want to see again our image. We will do our best and I'm sure we will compete. The result? We'll see what happens after the match but we'll be doing 100 per cent to achieve a good result.”