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Watford midfielder Lewis McGugan is aiming to pay back 'brilliant' fans with at least ten goals in the Championship
Watford midfielder Lewis McGugan says he couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome from the Hornets fans since his arrival in the summer and wants to show his gratitude by scoring at least ten goals this season.
The 24-year-old, who moved to Vicarage Road from boyhood club Nottingham Forest in July, scored twice in the Hornets’ win over Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night, taking his personal tally to four for the current campaign.
And after making the difficult decision to leave Forest, where he made 230 appearances in seven seasons, McGugan revealed Watford is already starting to feel like home.
“I’m feeling really settled, everyone at the club has been first class and the fans in particular, they have been brilliant with me,” he said.
“I couldn’t have asked for more from the supporters since I arrived so I just want to repay them as much as possible for that and if I can keep scoring goals I’ll be happy.”
McGugan has only ever reached double figures once before, netting 13 times for Forest in 2010/11, but he’s also scored five or more in his last three seasons in the Championship.
“I’ve set myself a target of getting double figures this season. If I get that I’ll be happy and if I get any more then it’ll be a bonus,” he said after the Doncaster win.
“I’ve started well so hopefully I can achieve my target but I’ll just take every game as it comes, I don’t want to get too carried away.”
With the added security of usually playing in a central midfield three, and alongside at least one holding midfielder, McGugan is allowed the freedom to break forward and influence play in the final third.
As the Hornets searched for a winning goal in the second half on Tuesday night, McGugan drifted much higher up the pitch, often coming inside from wide left to support the strikers.
“It wasn’t something the boss told me to do at half-time, it was just the way the game went. I thought it would make it easier to find more space for myself and create as much space for the other guys as possible,” he said.
“Doncaster were quite sucked together and they wanted to defend narrow. So we tried to do the opposite and play as wide as possible.
“I wanted to open up those gaps for the likes of Fernando [Forestieri] and Troy [Deeney] to get into and get them turned.”
McGugan’s intelligence and ability to read the game is perhaps what persuaded Premier League clubs to make offers in the summer.
But the former Forest man opted for what he considered the “best package” at Vicarage Road, where he could continue to play regular first-team football and contribute to a serious promotion challenge.
Despite a stuttering start for the Hornets, who sit sixth in the table, McGugan remains confident Watford’s quality will eventually pay dividends.
He said: “We just have to make sure we stay on top in games and when we’re not at our best we have to stay solid, make sure we’ve got a good shape and not make any silly mistakes.
“I think we’ve deserved a lot more in some of our matches but sometimes it doesn’t go your way and sometimes the luck doesn’t fall.
“So the main thing is to stay in it as long as possible and hopefully our quality will usually come through.”
McGugan was one of nine new arrivals in the summer but despite the high turnover of players, the midfielder insists morale in the squad is strong.
He added: “We’ve had a really good team spirit and a really good togetherness since the start of the season and that’s only going to get better as the weeks go by.
“Everyone is still getting to know each other personally but the spirit is good and winning late against Doncaster will help the confidence. We go to Barnsley now and try to do the same again.”
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