First Team 20/02/2020

Pussetto: “We Have To Keep Calm”

By Kevin Affleck

Ignacio Pussetto is excited about the prospect of following in the footsteps of some of his famous compatriots when he fulfils a dream by going to Old Trafford on Sunday.

Pussetto has never played at the Theatre of Dreams before and can't wait to sample the atmosphere and strut his stuff at a ground Carlos Tevez, Angel Di Maria and Juan Sebastián Verón once called home.

“It's going to be an unbelievable feeling to go there and play at a stadium that has a lot of history,” said the Argentine who joined in January from Udinese. “As a kid you always dream of playing there.

“My first memories of Manchester United were when Beckham was in the team. It was an unbelievable team and then again when Ronaldo joined and then some Argentines like Tevez, Veron and Di Maria.

“Both Veron and Di Maria are great players. Veron was a magnificent player with admirable technique and Di Maria is another top-class player. I try to copy from him as much as possible. He's a player I admire a lot and I'm always trying to learn from him.”

A player more familiar to Watford fans is Odion Ighalo, United's most recent signing. Pussetto trod the same path to Watford from Udinese as the Nigerian striker.

“I didn't get the chance to meet Ighalo but I remember seeing him play a few times,” said the 24-year-old forward. “He's a great player and he's demonstrated that in the Premier League and his value at Watford and his ability and capacity as a goalscorer. Now we've got to face him. We have to be aware of everyone in the team and it's going to be a very difficult game.”

The Hornets go to the red half of Manchester in good heart as there has been some welcome news from the treatment room this week.

“The recovery from both Sarr and Kiko is going to be very important to the team but, furthermore, I think our team isn't going to fight just to stay up,” he said. “I think we are going to be in a much better position than we are right now at the end of the season. First, we have to find a way out of the situation we are in and find a way out as quickly as possible. We have to keep calm.”


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First Team 20/02/2020

Big Interview: Abdoulaye Doucouré

In-form midfielder discusses being inspired by Patrick Vieira, Muhammad Ali and World Cup ’98, in his self-written interview, originally published in the matchday programme.


LES BLEUS

When I was five years old in 1998 the World Cup came to France and even though I was so young, it turned out to be something that really inspired me. The World Cup final, when we beat Brazil, is the first game I can remember watching on TV as a child and all my family were there. I can still remember the people outside in the city celebrating the victory and all the celebrations on the Champs-Élysées. All the French people were so happy and the team’s performance inspired a lot of people because we had a bright future ahead. From then on, I always watched football and I had a lot of posters in my bedroom, so it had a big impact on me.

‘PERFECT’ PATRICK

Everyone remembers the France team that had so much success in World Cup 1998 and Euro 2000. We had amazing players like Zidane, Deschamps and Henry, but my favourite of them all was Patrick Vieira. He’s my favourite ever midfielder. I looked up to him because while I was growing up, I watched him playing for the national team and Arsenal and he was a great example for me to follow. I enjoyed watching his skills and trying to repeat them. He could do everything; he was the perfect midfielder. I think now a lot of midfielders can get forward and score goals but also defend well, but back then it wasn’t like that and he was one of the first. That’s why he’s so important and one of the best. As a player I want to have the presence and influence on games like he had. I want to become one of the best midfielders, and there is nobody better than him to follow.

THE GREATEST

Vieira is my favourite midfielder and the Brazilian Ronaldo is my favourite non-midfielder, but outside of football the person who inspires me the most is Muhammad Ali. I’ve read a lot about him and he was one of the greatest sportsmen in the world. I’ve learned a lot of things from him as well. He was a good guy with his work for humanity; he spoke about a lot of things that are important in life so that’s why I admire him so much. I saw the movie with Will Smith and it was one of the best films I’ve seen. It was so close to reality, so close to how he was in real life and how he came across in the interviews you can watch back.

MIDDLE MEN

I really enjoy playing alongside Étienne in midfield. At the beginning of my time at Watford it was more of a competition between the two of us because I wanted to get a place in the team, but we’ve been playing together for two or three years now and we spend a lot of time together too. We have different qualities because we are different midfielders – he can do some things I can’t, and I can do the same for him – and we learn all the time from each other. He has a lot of experience playing in England as well as back in France, so it’s impossible not to learn from him. It’s nice we also have players like Nathaniel [Chalobah] and Will [Hughes] coming in and playing well and we have a good relationship between all the midfielders, which is good for competition.


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