Silva | “Everything To Play For”
Marco Silva acknowledges that the awkward-looking trip to Burnley to face the high-riding Clarets on Saturday represents a test of his side’s character and mental fortitude.
The Hornets have swept up to eighth in the table on the back of some pretty thrilling football and have quickly gained a reputation as one of the most watchable sides in the league.
Now they will need to show they have layers to their game, roll up their sleeves and prove they can do it on a cold afternoon – and the forecast suggests it will be freezing – in deepest Lancashire.
“Burnley are doing very well,” said Silva. “They started very well and everybody knows it’s really difficult to play them to get good results. It is one team challenging in every moment of the match. We must play a good battle to compete and take the result. We need to compete really well.”
Sean Dyche always has his team pumped up to play against his former club. They did a job on the Golden Boys at Turf Moor last season and they will be out for a win that could move them level on points with Arsenal.
But a re-energised Watford have been transformed from the team who folded in the same fixture last season, harvesting 13 points from seven away games and scoring more than two goals in every game on the road.
“They are fantastic numbers for us,” said Silva. “The key? We don’t change anything home or away. We try to compete to take points. We play in the same way. Maybe the difference is not in our team but in our opponent.”
Saturday’s game is a fascinating one as it pitches the team with the third best goals-against record at home against the third most free-scoring team on the road. Something has to give.
“When we analyse them they are really balanced,” said Silva. “They don’t concede a lot of goals, they keep very good organisation and are very strong. Every moment from every set-piece they are strong as well. We need to keep focus at set-pieces. We could improve more in this situation. We need to keep a good focus and keep a good balance.”
Saturday’s game will be Silva’s first trip to Burnley – Hull had already played the Clarets by the time Silva got there – and it will pitch two of the most progressive managers against each other. The tactical battle will be intriguing.
“Both teams are doing fantastic until now,” said Silva. “It’s a very good start but myself and Sean Dyche want to continue in the same way. There is everything to play for in the Premier League and this is a new game, a new fight and it will be a tough game for sure.”
Watford could move up to seventh with a win on Saturday and be leading the pack of clubs outside the well-established top six. Silva, though, is steadfastly sticking to the mandate that securing a fourth successive season of Premier League football is the priority. He is not indulging in talk of a European spot just yet.
“Our realistic aim is the first goal we had since the first day – to remain a club in the Premier League," he said. "This is our goal. We know how many points we need to achieve our goal. We don’t change anything. We are happy with everything we did until now.
"We know our way and know how everything can change fast, so we continue to work day by day to prepare for the next game. It’s our job, our obligation to always improve. Of course we are happy but things change fast. Even when we take good results we analyse how we can improve on the training ground.”
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