Mariappa | “We Were In Control”

By Sammy Brough

Adrian Mariappa was left dissatisfied following Watford’s late defeat away to Crystal Palace, admitting the performance in the latter stages of the match wasn’t up to scratch. 

Daryl Janmaat’s early goal settled any nerves the Watford faithful may have had when filing through the turnstiles at Selhurst Park. The Dutchman’s headed goal, just three minutes in, gave Marco Silva's men the perfect start. 

A second yellow card for Tom Cleverley three minutes from time proved to be the turning point. Bakary Sako’s equaliser following a Heurelho Gomes double-save gave Palace the momentum to take all three points, something substitute James McArthur sealed two minutes into injury-time.

“Obviously we’re gutted to come away with no points,” Mariappa said after full-time.

“I thought we were in control of the game for pretty much most of it and then we conceded two late goals. It’s something we need to look at and address because we know it’s not good enough.  

“We’ve seen games out this season, but we’ll look at the goals individually. It’s not great on our part, but like I said we will look at it and aim to do better going forward.”

Three at the back was the formation chosen by Silva. A positive decision, with Palace limited to just four shots on target, three of which came during the equalising goal.

“We felt in control of the game,” said Mariappa, who made his 14th appearance of the campaign in South London.

“They’ve got a lot of good attacking players and for most of the game they were kept very quiet. I thought we looked in control and created some other good chances as well, so to come away with nothing is really disappointing.

“At the end of the day we had the one-nil lead and we should have come away with a clean sheet.”

Scott Dann's toe was enough to prevent Troy Deeney notching a second before the half, and Richarlison’s effort 20 minutes into the second-half at the back post was well saved by the sprawling Julian Speroni. It was a strike that, had it hit the back of the net, would’ve given the Hornets a little more breathing space late on. 

Watford have earned plaudits for their free-scoring form on the road this season, but it’s something Mariappa and the team know won’t always be the case.  

“The boys have been terrific this season, we’ve scored more than one goal on the road in every game so far [before Palace], but we’re not always going to score two or three away from home. 

“It’s down to us as a team, we always attack as a team and defend as a team, we will look at it and see where we can improve.”

Tom Cleverley’s second yellow card late on for a challenge on Jeffrey Schlupp saw him dismissed from the pitch, with his absence against Huddersfield set to be felt, according to Mariappa. 

“It’s frustrating, Clevs has been terrific for us the whole season so him missing a game will be massive,” he said.

“We need to just stick together as a group and believe in what we’re doing and crack on for the next game, we’ve got a big game this Saturday at home and we need to get a positive result.”


Silva | “We Need To Kill The Game”

Marco Silva felt Watford should have been out of sight and over the hill long before Crystal Palace staged the most unlikely of comebacks to floor the Golden Boys at Selhurst Park.
Watford were 1-0 up thanks to Daryl Janmaat's third-minute header and had chances, through Troy Deeney and Richarlison, to kill the game off.

But the Hornets left the door tantalisingly ajar and Palace came steaming through, first in the 89th minute and then in the second minute of stoppage time to snatch a result that left Silva even more dumbfounded than he had been at Everton. 

“We should have won this match,” said the Head Coach.

“When you play like we did for 85 minutes; we were leading 1-0 but we must score more. We had two clear chances, three clear chances. At this level, we need to kill the game. We created chances, and Gomes didn't have a save to make before 80 minutes. But Palace always create chances late on, with Benteke, Zaha, Loftus-Cheek and Townsend. We were solid and compact, and didn't give them a chance until that moment.”

Indeed Palace needed snookers until Tom Cleverley was sent off for picking up a second yellow card.

“The red card changed it,” said Silva.

“It gave them belief. We should not have let Zaha cut inside. We'd been two against one on him all night. We should have managed the match in a different way in that moment. Zaha created two moments but, even then, we were in a good moment, one against two. We should have done things different. We were in a position to do that.”

Silva did not apportion any blame to Cleverley who will now be suspended for the visit of Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

“I didn't see it, of course, but angry? No,” said the Head Coach.

“Cleverley deserves all the credit. What he's done up to now has been amazing. He's a big example for everyone in our dressing room. A big example. He's one of the focused players. The game is hot and sometimes it's not easy. It's not because of Tom we lost this game. We should have scored more than one goal up to then.”