Silva On Mapps | “Ready Every Time”
Miguel Britos returns from suspension for the trip to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday and he has a job on his hands to wrestle the shirt off the back of Adrian Mariappa. Possession is nine tenths of the law after all.
The redoubtable Mariappa has played 259 times for the Golden Boys in so many different eras but this was arguably his best ever performance, especially when you consider the calibre of the opposition and when you take the exalted level into account.
He was towering in the air, regularly out-jumping Wilfried Bony and the flying block he produced to deny Tammy Abraham a certain second goal fell very much into the goal-saving category.
Most impressively, he switched seamlessly from playing in a back two to a back three and although he may be the smallest of the central defenders on the club's books, he stood the tallest.
“It was a very good performance,” said Head Coach Marco Silva.
“Last week he did well also. He knows what we want, what is our idea in our backline. He is one player who knows the club and one player who is ready every time to help the team.”
Andre Gray, on the other hand, is just starting out his Watford career and his celebration at opening the scoring told you how relieved he was to open his Watford account at the seventh time of asking. He needed that goal. That club-record transfer fee won't be weighing quite so heavy now.
“It's important for him and our strikers to score,” said Silva.
“I am happy with his work before but the goal gives him more confidence. I am happy, not only because he scored but how he worked for the team.”
Richarlison is another who works his socks off the team.
He was overshadowed by Andrè Carrillo on the other wing during the first half but his influence grew as the game wore on and the fact it was him who was leading the press on Alfie Mawson, pressurising the Swansea defender into a mistake for the winning goal, was typical of the shift he puts in. The finish, in off the crossbar, had a touch of Brazilian flair about it.
“He's an amazing talent,” said Silva.
“He's 20 years old and we really believe in him. He likes to work and learn every day. It was maybe not his best performance today but it's still a good moment for him.”