Silva | “Important Moment In The Year”

Marco Silva would have been forgiven had he puffed out his cheeks on first viewing of the Christmas fixture pile-up involving his Watford side.

The Hornets' seven Premier League games in the month of December are more than he has ever faced during his career as a Head Coach.

Au contraire. Silva is taking a workman-like approach to the Golden Boys' three big games against Brighton, Leicester and Swansea over the festive period. 

“It's the first time I've experienced this number of games, for sure,” he admitted, speaking ahead of the visit to Brighton on Saturday.

“The schedule, and the culture here as well, is a fantastic moment for everyone, an important moment in the year for everyone. We have to respect the schedule and prepare our team to play. 

“We are planning to work on the 25th. It's our job. Here it is normal.”

The upcoming games present other challenges, too. Abdoulaye Doucouré's fifth booking sees him suspended for the Seagulls test. Marvin Zeegelaar serves the final game of a three-match ban. Troy Deeney is suspended for all three, plus the trip to Manchester City on January 2 to boot. Injuries are also still a headache for the Head Coach. 

“Of course it's the best for me and the coaches to have everyone available and to have your squad ready to play,” Silva noted. 

“This is not just for me, but for all the coaches. You are stronger, sure, if everyone is ready.

“In this moment with the injuries we have, maybe in the last two months, and for the next game with three players out banned is not the best scenario but we have to find the solution. We will start with 11. I'm here to find the best solution.”

Three red cards in as many Premier League games hasn't gone unnoticed by Silva, but he was unflustered by Sky Sports' Gary Cotterill's line of questioning regarding discipline. 

“I understand your question [most red cards - is discipline an issue?]. In the last three games we played almost two hours with 10 players, it's a lot. 

“You can look at the red cards, but if you look at the yellow cards as well, if you look at 20 teams, we're in the middle. Our team is a fair team, we try to compete, we try to play in the normal way. Some things happen in the moment.”

You can watch the full press conference above free, no sign-up required.


Team News | Brighton

Marco Silva will make a late decision on the fitness of Will Hughes before deciding whether the midfielder comes into contention for Saturday’s trip to Brighton.

Hughes has not featured since injuring his hamstring against Manchester United in late November, but Silva revealed at today’s pre-Brighton press conference that the 22-year-old has returned to full training.

“There may be something new to report about Will, we will see,” said the Hornets’ Head Coach.

“Tomorrow [Friday] we will work one more day, one more session, and we will see how he reacts.

“He worked with the team this morning. It was a full session and he feels okay, so we will see tomorrow. We will work again and after that we will take a decision.”

Watford will certainly welcome back Tom Cleverley at the American Express Community Stadium; the midfielder returns from a one-game suspension following his sending off at Crystal Palace.

Abdoulaye Doucouré is banned having collected his fifth booking of the season against Huddersfield, while Troy Deeney and Marvin Zeegelaar are also suspended following their respective red cards.

The Seagulls game has come too soon for Kiko Femenía, who remains sidelined by a hamstring injury.

Watch Silva’s full pre-Brighton press conference above – free to view, no sign-up required.