19/10/2017

Team News | Chelsea

Marco Silva will pick from the same pool of players for the trip to Chelsea after the Head Coach reported no fresh injury concerns. 

“It's the same situation as last week,” said Silva during today's press conference.

“Cathcart, Chalobah and Isaac [Success] are long-term. Kaboul and Sebastian [Prödl] are still out of the match. We expect them to work with the team the next week. Maybe not full training, but certainly with the team. It's too early to say with Chalobah.”

It's also too early, according to the Head Coach, to start indulging in talk of just how high Watford might finish after their electric start to the season.

The Golden Boys are riding high in fourth and would move above Tottenham into third if they were to add to their away-day showreel by winning at Stamford Bridge for the first time since 1986.

“The position is not the most important thing right now,” said Silva.

“Of course it's really good when you see the table and see the position, but it's too early now. It's important we know what is our goal and take it game-by-game, session-by-session. We just want to compete in every match and it's important we show our ambition during the match.”

Silva is one of those even-keel coaches who doesn't get too high when his team win or too down when they lose.

He's not dwelling too much on a start to the season that has brought just one defeat – and that was to free-scoring leaders Manchester City – nor is he looking too far ahead and plotting Watford's highest ever Premier League finish. You can forget asking him about a possible European spot.

“I want everybody to be really calm,” he said.

“We did really in the first eight matches but it's too early. We want to continue to work hard every day. Everything changes fast and you need to keep going and treat the next game as the most important. But of course I feel proud.”

There has been no resting on laurels or sitting back and admiring the viewing from fourth spot at the training ground this week. Silva has the players working as hard as ever and continues to preach the benefits of hard graft. 

“Nobody achieves anything without hard work,” he says.

“Sometimes it's a cliche but it's impossible to achieve anything without hard work. We need to continue in our way, be smart and understand the moment and keep our feet on floor. It's too early to be thinking other ”


Whether you’re at Stamford Bridge or supporting from afar this Saturday, follow the action live – including full match commentary – with watfordfc.com’s dedicated matchday feed; just like the BBC and Sky, but tailored especially for Hornets’ fans.

19/10/2017

Opposition Focus | Chelsea

Oliver Harbord, the Chelsea correspondent at Football.London, gives us the inside track on the Champions. 


What's the mood around the camp following the topsy-turvy 3-3 draw with Roma in the Champions League?

“The feeling is they were lucky to get a draw in the end. Roma dominated possession, had more shots and should really have got all three points. Chelsea went 2-0 up but they weren't playing particularly well and Conte made that pretty clear afterwards.”

Conte doesn't seem to be a particularly happy bunny and seems to have lost the spring in the step he had last season.

“Yes, there is a feeling Conte is not happy and that it's not a particularly happy camp. That was obvious after the defeat to Man City and especially the one at Palace. There are players out of form and they've just not been as cohesive as they were last season.

“You can say that they are playing Champions League football this season and that the squad is thinner but I don't think you can use that as an excuse. It's certainly not the happiest of times right now and the mood is slightly sour.”

There are some suggestions he might walk at the end of the season. Surely not, right?

“He signed new deal last summer but it wasn't an extension, just more money. That rang alarm bells, especially at a club who have a reputation for churning through managers. I don't think he's overly thrilled about what's going on. He's a bit like a coiled spring at the minute and he had his first little pop when he bit back at Mourinho's comments about managers crying about injuries.

“That was a warning sign that things are starting to get to him a little bit. Will he go at the end of the season? It's difficult to say but something clearly isn't right. He did superbly last season and the fans love him so it would be a real shame if he went.”

The injury situation won't be helping his mood, will it? What's the latest from the treatment room?

“Kante is definitely out and is likely to be out until the next international break. The same with Moses. They both have hamstring injuries. David Luiz picked up a calf injury against Roma so we'll have to wait and see on him. Bakayoko has a slight groin strain while Drinkwater is only just coming back to fitness. I don't think he'll make the squad.

“They picked up hardly any injuries last season and they are now starting to feel the strain. Academy players Ethan Ampadu, Dujon Sterling and Kyle Scott have all been training with the first team and Scott was on the bench against Roma, but the squad hasn't got the same depth as City or United.”
 

N'Golo Kante will definitely miss out for the hosts

Can injuries explain the patchy start to the season?

“Injuries certainly have not helped and I think it's just showed how important Kante is. When he's not playing you realise just how important he is. They really missed somebody who covers as much ground as him.

“Bakayoko is not quite the same player. He's younger and will develop in time but they've not found that balance in midfield yet. But, having said that, they've only got two fit central midfielders right now in Bakayoko and Fabregas.”

How you could have done with Nathaniel Chalobah right now. Is there any regret over the decision to sell him to us?

“I don't think it was a case of Chelsea letting him go, more that Chalobah wanted first-team football. Having said that it was still a real shame to see him go as fans saw him as one for the future and he would probably have got more game-time at Chelsea. But he's not the first Academy player not to make it at Chelsea.

“I think the real surprising one was allowing Ruben Loftus-Cheek to join Palace on loan. He should have gone on loan last season and then been Premier League ready for this campaign.”

Chelsea spent a fair bit of money in the summer, nearly £190m. How have the new boys fared?

“Zappacosta has only started three games and has been a bit of a mixed bag. He's not shown great signs at the moment. Bakayoko has looked decent and is a good ball winner, although he does give it away a bit cheaply and he doesn't quite get around the round the pitch like Kante. Rudiger has looked good when he's had the chance to play and he's pushing for a starting spot. Morata has looked the most impressive.”

Morata has certainly hit the ground running, scoring eight goals in 11 games...

“He's a superb player. He's got a great touch and has got all the physical attributes you need in the Premier League. His link-up play with Hazard against Atletico Madrid was frighteningly good. He's got a good eye for goal, is good in the air and obviously he got that hat-trick against Stoke. When on form and fit he looks a top player.”
 

Alvaro Morata has been in red hot form for Chelsea

Has Morata helped fill the void left by the colourful Diego Costa?

“They've just tried to move on as much as they can. Costa was superb at Chelsea and defenders just knew they were going to have a tough game against him. But Conte made it clear he was happy to let him go and that he wanted a change. He feels Morata fits much better into the style of play he wants.”

How is Saturday's lunchtime game, when fifth meets fourth, being viewed in West London?

“It's a crucial game, really crucial. As Marcos Alonso said this week they can't afford to drop too many more points. Watford are in red-hot form and Chelsea know they need to be on their game for the full 90 minutes as Watford go right to the end.

“They've had two Premier League defeats on the bounce and can't really afford another one if they are going to challenge for the title. Last season this game would have been seen as three points in the bag but definitely not now. The performance levels need to be higher as lately they've not been good at all.”

We've made quite a view waves in our unlikely rise up to fourth in the table. What have you made of our trailblazing start?

“Watford have been superb. They've made some really smart acquisitions, like nailing down Cleverley to a permanent deal while Richarlison looks a hot prospect. You've bought really wisely. You look like you are playing with a new energy and that they are really buying into what Silva wants to do. Silva has done a brilliant job and got them playing with a real never-say-die attitude. He looked a decent manager and Hull and is now proving it again.”


Whether you’re at Stamford Bridge or supporting from afar this Saturday, follow the action live – including full match commentary – with watfordfc.com’s dedicated matchday feed; just like the BBC and Sky, but tailored especially for Hornets’ fans.