08/12/2017

Zeegelaar | “We Can Do Everything We Want”

It’s the November 19, you’ve been in England since the summer and you’ve yet to break into the first team. It is finally you’re first team debut - time to show the fans what you’re all about. Twenty seconds in and you’re down on the floor with a broken nose. This is the start to life Marvin Zeegelaar had in a Watford shirt.

The left-back was met with the full force of West Ham striker Andy Carrol’s elbow and was down receiving treatment for several minutes before rocking the tissue-paper-up-the-nose look for the rest of the game.

“It was a bit of a shock, the first seconds to get a broken nose, but I took it well. We continued the game and it was a good game too, we won.” Zeegelaar admitted.

Following on from his debut, the Dutchman has made three consecutive starts for the Golden Boys, adapting perfectly to English football. With a Man of the Match display at St James’ Park, including two assists, it hasn’t been the worst of starts since he picked himself up off the floor against West Ham, and Zeegelaar admitted there has been just one or two things that he has had to adapt to in England.

“I think the weather, that was a big one and the driving too actually.” He laughed.

“I think it’s the same though, it’s a fast game of course. They play fast and physically in England. It’s not too different to what I’ve seen on TV.”

It’s been a fantastic season so far for Watford, who sit eighth the Premier League table and have picked up important points against the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham. The question in the media has been whether the Hornets can push for the European places come the end of the season.

When questioned on the whether the sky is indeed the limit for this Watford side the former Sporting Lisbon man was not ruling anything out.

“I think it is, why not, if you see what Leicester City did. I think we can do everything we want as a team and reach as high as possible.” Zeegelaar said.

To achieve this ambition, the Hornets will need to beat the teams around them and that starts this weekend with a trip to Turf Moor to face seventh placed Burnley. The Clarets have been defying the odds all season and Sean Dyche’s side have been notoriously difficult to play against, conceding just three times at home all season.

Watford head to Lancashire with an impressive away record, scoring at least two goals in each fixture on the road  and picking up wins at Bournemouth, Southampton, Swansea and Newcastle. It promises to be an intriguing contest and Zeegelaar is ready for the battle that lies ahead.

“I think it’s going to be a difficult game, I think every game in the Premier League is difficult but I think especially this game because they’re a tough side and have only conceded three goals at home. It will be difficult but we know we are scoring as well in away games so we will see.”

The game against Burnley is the start of what promises to be a busy schedule for the Golden Boys with eight games in the next four weeks over the festive period and Zeegelaar let us in on his number one Christmas gift.

“The best Christmas gift would be to win all the games of course. As a player you always look forward to playing football.”

07/12/2017

Silva | “Everything To Play For”

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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.”

Hull and Burnley drew 1-1 when Silva and Dyche last met in February 2017

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.”

Watch the full Silva press conference at the top of this article - free to view, no sign-up required.


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