First Team 30/12/2019

Capoue: “We Can See Our Spirit”

By Kevin Affleck

Étienne Capoue feels the squad has recaptured the belief they had for large chunks of last season and that it is underpinning their upturn in form.

The Hornets have bagged seven points in six days and look much more like the team which started last season with four straight wins and ended the season with their best ever Premier League finish. Capoue thrives in this type of atmosphere and followed up a majestic performance at Bramall Lane with a colossal one against Aston Villa.

“Nigel brings a very good vibe between the players,” said Capoue. “We fight a lot for each other and we find that spirit we had last season. He and his staff have brought character and it is a really nice atmosphere they have brought. We follow them, we trust their ideas and we reflect it on the pitch. We can see our spirit.”

Capoue produced the complete midfield performance against Villa. His passing accuracy was 87 percent, the seven ball recoveries he made was testament to his defensive work while he also created three chances, including the third goal for Ismaïla Sarr.

“It was a huge win as we have to come back,” he said. “We did it today with big character. It was all about character and it was a huge win and I hope we can keep it going. We may be in the relegation zone but we want to send a message that it will be very difficult to get points here [at Vicarage Road]. We got back-to-back wins. Now it's about keeping focus and going game by game. We are in a difficult situation but if we keep going like this, we are going to go out of the situation.”

First Team 29/12/2019

Mahon: “They Look More Organised And Compact”

By Kevin Affleck

Gavin Mahon saw enough from Watford in their comprehensive victory over Aston Villa to suggest his former team will navigate its way out of trouble.

The former captain was at Vicarage Road for the first time since the 4-1 win over Chelsea nearly two years ago and was mightily impressed with what he saw.

“They had a game plan, a shape and look more organised and compact,” he said on Added Time. “You need that sound base as you are not going to beat teams 4-3 or 3-2 all the time. You need to be defensively sound. They look so athletic and fit, and I think they will be fine, I really do. They need to keep doing what they are doing.”

It's now three games unbeaten, five goals without reply in the last two home games and three matches at Vicarage Road without conceding a goal. The team look, on the face of it, solid at the back and a threat at the other end.

“They look dangerous going forward,” said Mahon, who played 215 times for the Hornets between between 2002 and 2008. “Deulofeu and Troy give you a chance at the other end and they have a top goalkeeper in Fozzy. When you have a top, top goalkeeper you have always got a chance.

“The biggest thing for me was the athleticism and hunger for it. You could see Troy being a leader on the pitch today. When you are in a dog fight, you need those kind of people.”

You also need a Head Coach like Nigel Pearson, someone who has no qualms about rattling a few cages but mixes it up with plenty of arms around shoulders.

“From speaking to people who know him and who have worked with him, his man-management is top drawer,” said Mahon. “As a player he didn't leave anything on the pitch or any stone unturned. That's how he comes across. He's got this team fit, organised and working hard for each other. That's what you need in a difficult position.”