First Team 20/08/2018

Hughes: “It's A Lot Harder Than It Looks!”

Watch the full interview with Will Hughes, via the Hornets' official YouTube channel, or read on for his thoughts after scoring against Burnley.

Will Hughes got his third goal in Watford colours, and the Hornets' third of the afternoon at Turf Moor, as the Golden Boys defeated Burnley - a side usually so strong at home - to win on the road for the first time since November.

The former England youth international was pleased to put some bad records to bed, and with the manner of the win in a real team performance in Lancashire.

“I think it was Newcastle - our last away win. We know by our standards it's not been good enough,” said Hughes. “It was something we'd looked to improve on this year, and thankfully we've started early on.

“Coming to any away team in the Premier League is difficult, but especially Burnley.

“Not a lot of teams come here and pick up points, so thankfully we've caught them when they are a bit tired after the Europa League, and we took advantage of that.”

That a good overall display was capped with a goal made it all the sweeter for Hughes, who admits it's an area of his game he's been working on.

“It's something I've talked about a lot over the last few years - scoring more goals,” said the midfielder. “Thankfully I've got off the mark early on, and I'll try and carry that on throughout the season - but it's a lot harder than it looks!”

Hughes was in the thick of the action throughout, including a challenge in front of the dugouts Burnley boss Sean Dyche felt merited a red card.

“It was nothing like that,” explained the Hornets' third goalscorer. “I think the ball might have already gone off but all I did was try to make a block tackle.

“I'm not complaining about the yellow card but that's the most it was.” 

As is often the way with Hughes, he's keen to talk about the collective rather than the individual.

“Scoring early on but conceding straight after that was a bit of a blow,” he said. “But, I think it shows a sign of the mentality in the team.

“Then at half-time they are probably looking for the win, their fans are expecting it, but scoring two early goals [in the second half] I think shows a lot of character in the team.”

And part of that mental strength is not getting too high when you win, or too low when you lose, and not looking any further than the next game - a message that comes from Head Coach Javi Gracia.

“We know it's early doors,” said Hughes. “There's a long way to go - another 36 games.

“Look, we're not getting ahead of ourselves - we'll take it one game at a a time and we're looking to the next game now against Crystal Palace on Sunday.”

Hughes is keen to strengthen the connection between the pitch and the stands, felt so keenly in the first game against Brighton & Hove Albion at The Vic.

“We want the fans to get behind us at Vicarage Road and try and make it into a bit of a fortress this year, with their support,” said the Englishman. “So, we'll go into the Palace game full of confidence, but not complacency.

“It's always nice to pick up a victory for the fans, they've travelled a long way - on a Sunday as well, which isn't ideal for some of them - but it's nice to send them home happy.”

First Team 20/08/2018

Loan Lads: Dodi's Dream Düsseldorf Debut

Dodi Lukebakio made his first competitive start for Fortuna Düsseldorf at the weekend, bagging a brace in a 5-0 win in the DFB Pokal (German Cup) over RW Koblenz.

The on-loan Watford winger played the full match and got Die Flingeraner off to a great start, scoring in the ninth and 12th minutes as the Bundesliga side raced into the lead against lower-league opponents.

The first was well-taken, as Lukebakio received a fizzed pass across the area from former Burnley man Rouwen Hennings. The Belgian wide-man controlled the ball with his right foot, before finishing on the half-volley with his left, with the RW defenders desperately trying to cover on the line after their goalkeeper had rushed out.


First official game, first 2goals 💪🏾 #F95 #Dfbpokal

A post shared by Dodi Lukebakio Ngandoli (@20lukebakio) on

And if the first was an example of good technique, the second was even better. Lukebakio had no right to score when the ball was laid off to him, 25 yards out, outside the right-hand corner of the box. He took a touch, shifted it half a yard to his left, and unleashed a sublime curling shot into the far bottom corner of the net. It was a goal out of the top-drawer.

Lukebakio's brace set the tone for the rest of the afternoon, as Düsseldorf went on to win by five goals, with the Watford youngster named Man of the Match.

Daniel Bachmann meanwhile, had a less memorable debut, as he was thrown right into the thick of it against Rangers in the Scottish League Cup at Rugby Park.

Alfredo Morelos scored a hat-trick for the visitors, while the Gers' left-back Borna Barišić inadvertently turned-in a Kris Boyd flick-on in a 3-1 defeat for Kilmarnock.

Elsewhere, Randell Williams' Wycombe Wanderers took on Alex Jakubiak's Bristol Rovers at Adams Park, with Rovers winning 2-1.

Wycombe were punished by two early corners, and while Williams created one good opportunity - crossing well only for Akinfenwa to head just over - and Scott Kashket eventually pulled one back, they couldn't find a way to even the scores. Jakubiak meanwhile, was an unused substitute for the victorious visitors.