Silva | “Not Normal Mistakes”

Marco Silva felt the heavy-looking nature of the defeat to Manchester United was a hard one to swallow, believing it did not reflect the part his side played in a slow-burner of a game at Vicarage Road that caught fire at the end. He felt his side started and finished the better of the two sides, that they could have been playing against ten men for last 13 minutes and that the game was decided by “detail” and “individual mistakes”.

Silva's gameplan went out of the window after half-hour when the Hornets, who hadn't done a lot wrong, found themselves three goals down. It was always going to be an uphill task thereafter, but instead of opting for damage limitation they staged a thrilling comeback in the second half, which confirmed this team has plenty of character and fortitude about it.

For a brief moment a second 3-3 draw at Vicarage Road this season against a Champions League club looked a distinct possibility but ultimately they came up just short. The Golden Boys had left themselves too much to do, too big a mountain to climb. The damage had been done in the first third of the game. 

“It was a hard result for us,” said the Head Coach.

“I believe we start very well. In the first 20 minutes we controlled our opponent and we had some moments  The game was really in the balance and nobody created chances, but we had two dangerous crosses. But they scored the first time they went in our and box and in ten minutes they scored three goals.

“That was really hard for us. We knew that Man United would be strong on the counter-attack but nobody expected that at that moment. Individual mistakes made the difference for us in the end.”

Silva felt the problem was psychological rather than tactical or physical.

“It's clear to me that our players were a little but nervous and a little bit anxious,” he said.

“The third goal is a good example of that: we had two or three chances to solve the problem but we made easy mistakes. Maybe they felt the pressure. It's not normal. Maybe it's because we played against a big team. Some of our team play for the first time against Man United. We will talk and analyse this together.”

Watford, to their immense credit, didn't throw the towel in and kept prompting and probing, searching for a route back into the match. In doing so, they became only the third side this season to score more than one goal in a game against United.

“We tried to play our game and solve the problem,” said Silva.

“We tried to react and had a chance [before half-time] to score through Richarlison. I told our players [at half-time] that is not our image, not our character. We had 45 minutes to play. I told my players to play like the game is 0-0 and forget about the result. Individual detail made the difference, I'm sure about that.”

The second-half turnaround was inspired by the introduction of the three second-half substitutes. Roberto Pereyra won the penalty Troy Deeney converted and then Andrè Carrillo provided the assist for the second. 

“They did well,” said Silva. “They had a good impact on the team but we are talking about three qualities players They really helped the team. We changed the formation. It's what I expect players of that quality.”

Watford have now scored three goals against Liverpool, two against Arsenal, two against Chelsea and two against Manchester United, proving they can give the best the league has to offer a serious run for its money.

“When we scored the first goal we were already better,” said Silva.

“We scored the penalty and, at that moment, it looked like a second yellow card for Rojo. If it's 11 against 10 it would be very difficult for them. It was difficult anyway because we scored the second, but if it's 11 against 10 it would be even better.

“We believed even more at 3-2, made more problems, but there was one counter-attack against us, where we weren't in a good balance, and we should do things differently. Tom [Cleverley] should stop the counterattack, that's when you need to do a tactical foul.”

Silva was all smiles with Jose Mourinho before the game but he disagreed with his friend and mentor that United could have had six goals and that side's in Watford's position are able to play with more freedom.

“I didn't see the same game," he said.

“We have a lot to lose. They fight for champions, we fight to remain in the Premier League. We compete until the end of the match. We have pressure as well. It's not just the top six that feel pressure. We did our best in the match, but we played better in the second half.”


Report | Watford 2-4 Man United

On the night when Rak-Su came back to where it all began, Ashley Young enjoyed a homecoming of his own, auditioning for a World Cup spot by scoring twice to floor the Golden Boys in what ended up being a breathless game at Vicarage Road.
Young’s pair of sweetly-struck goals in six first-half minutes, the second a beauty of a free-kick, knocked the stuffing out of the Hornets. Indeed, they were still reeling when Anthony Martial made it three six minutes later.
The way Marco Silva threw a water bottle in frustration at the concession of the third was a measure of how he knew the game was up just a third of the way into what promised to be a fascinating matchup. His gameplan had gone out of the window. From then on it was about damage limitation and how much pride Watford could restore.
They firstly successfully stemmed the bleeding and eventually restored some pride thanks to Troy Deeney’s penalty. They then threatened the comeback of all comebacks when Abdoulaye Doucouré reduced the deficit to just one with six minutes remaining. It was very much game on for a couple of minutes and the second 3-3 draw of the season at Vicarage Road was on the cards until Jesse Lingard put that idea to bed with United’s fourth.
United deserved the win, there was no disputing that, but you certainly couldn’t fault the Hornets for effort or courage. They could easily have rolled over at 3-0 and thrown the towel in. They fact they didn’t bodes well while the manner of the comeback confirmed their growing status as one of the most entertaining sides in the Premier League.

They’ve now scored 25 goals and conceded 26. You certainly get value for money watching the Golden Boys these days.

The Hornets started quite brightly. Lining up 3-4-3, they broke the chess-like feel to the game with some enterprising play down the flanks. Kiko Feminía flashed one across the face that Richarlison flung himself at and then Richarlison did the same for Andre Gray from the other side.
They also forced the first corner and were starting to make the running, with Will Hughes, buoyed by back-to-back goals, getting on the ball and starting to prompt and prod.
But then came two bolts from the blue. Firstly, after 19 minutes, Young rifled a loose ball into the bottom corner. And then, just six minutes later, he cracked in a free-kick that Cristiano Ronaldo would have been proud of. Heurelho Gomes was actually stationed to the side where the free-kick nestled in but it was hit with such pace, dip and power that it left the in-form Brazilian rooted to the spot.
It was starting to get messy when, after 32 minutes, Romelu Lukaku played in Martial for the Frenchman to stroke the ball firmly in the bottom corner. Sebastian Prödl had not conceded a league goal this season prior to this game but had now shipped three in just over half-an-hour. There was, if anything, a slight hesitancy in the new-look back three born of unfamiliarity.
It could and probably should have been four had Gomes not pulled off a double save to deny Lukaku and then Lingard. That would have been game over.
The best it got for Watford was when Richarlison looped a header onto the crossbar after a driving crossfield run from Feminía. Half-time therefore came at a good time for the Hornets, giving them time to regroup and lick their wounds. They hadn’t done a lot wrong and yet were three down.

With the game over as a contest and the result beyond doubt, the second half had a bit of a funereal feel about it until Doucouré flashed one over from distance and then Richarlison rose highest at the far post to head wide a centre from Feminía.
Watford sought to throw the kitchen sink at United around the hour mark, slinging on attacking trio Andrè Carrillo, Roberto Pereyra and Deeney and the move worked, with Pereyra winning the penalty that Deeney smashed home on 77 minutes. “We’re going to win 4-3,” chorused the home fans.
Those chants got even louder when Doucouré poked in a cross from Carrillo. It was now game on and the noise was cranked up several notches.
But hopes of a thrilling comeback were thwarted when Lingard brilliantly made it four on the break. Even then the Hornets kept going. It’s the only way they know under Silva and despite this defeat, it will continue to serve them well.
HORNETS | Gomes: Mariappa, Prödl (Carrillo 58), Kabasele; Feminía, Doucouré, Cleverley, Zeegelaar; Hughes (Pereyra 58), Richarlison, Gray (Deeney 72).

Subs not used: Karnezis, Janmaat, Wagué, Capoue