First Team 05/12/2019

Deulofeu: “We Changed A Little Bit Our Character”

Gerard Deulofeu insists the key to Watford rising from the foot of the Premier League table lies with the players.

Speaking after last night’s 2-0 loss at high-flying Leicester, the Spaniard said he believes that with a little more character the Hornets will be able to find their form and ensure an upturn in fortunes.

“We have to improve our football, our character. We can have lots of coaches and systems but the most important thing is the players change our attitude and try to get points every week,” he rued.

“We can’t be nervous when we go on the pitch. For me what we have to do is work hard because even to win one game in the Premier League is really tough.

“The coach said to us today that we have to have energy and power, and today we changed a little bit our character so Saturday we have to do even more.”

Not for the first time in a Watford game this season, refereeing decisions were a hot topic and Deulofeu felt the award of the second-half penalty that broke the deadlock for the Foxes was harsh.

“Today I think we worked hard against a tough team and we were good until the penalty, which changed it all,” he rued.

“It was a tough decision and I don’t think here in the Premier League it’s possible to say this is a penalty. 

“Okay, you can say Watford have to play better and I agree with this, but also last week against Southampton VAR agreed there was a handball [before the Saints’ equaliser, which was not disallowed] so little things are changing a lot for us.”

Asked whether he expects Hayden Mullins to remain in charge as Interim Head Coach for the visit of Crystal Palace, Deulofeu said the priority for Saturday’s game must be fighting for what would be three crucial points, regardless of who fills the dugout.

“Let’s see. If it is him or not, we have to fight against Palace and get points quickly because we don’t have a lot of time,” he said. “It’s been tough for us but we are working really hard to take points.”

First Team 04/12/2019

Mullins: “We’ll Be Taking Loads From That Game”

Hayden Mullins said he was proud of the players for putting in a spirited display at Leicester City and had faith that, if similar shifts were put in every week, their work would yield results.

“We started off really well and really positive and the result at the end is a tough one to take because the players did really well,” said the Interim Head Coach.

“For us there are loads of positives to take. We’ll be taking loads of bits from that game and trying to build on them. I said to them at the end that if they show that same fight, that same drive and that same commitment and professionalism right until the end of the season, I’m sure we’ll be in a very good place.”

Mullins and Graham Stack had only two days to prepare for this match but were working all hours to come up with a plan to contain the high-flying Foxes and it nearly paid off.

In the end, the deadlock was only broken by a Jamie Vardy penalty before James Maddison scored a second on the break in injury time.

“We wanted to try to come here and be solid, to try to press from our shape but also try to counter-attack when we could. We thought the best shape was to go with 4-4-1-1, with Gerard [Deulofeu]’s pace and the pace of [Ismaïla] Sarr as well, and at times he got us up the pitch really well.

“We came with a game plan, we knew we were playing a very good side and an in-form side that’s second in the league. They brought a load of different threats from all over the pitch, so we knew we had to set up a certain way to try and stop them.

“I think what we saw was the way we wanted to set up for large periods of the game, even up until the second goal in the 95th minute we were well in the game.”

Looking forward, Mullins said he will be ready to lead the team again against Crystal Palace if required.

“The main focus for us for the past couple of days was Leicester, how we prepare for Leicester, how we set up for Leicester, how we try to stop Leicester. If the club needs me to take training and go into Saturday then I’m ready.

“I’ll be going into work as normal tomorrow and preparing for whatever I’m needed for.”