After the win over Brighton & Hove Albion, Watford head coach Beppe Sannino addressed the media by saying: “I want to start this press conference with a little story. Before the game, Watford – this team – were like me in the pictures in the mud at Nottingham Forest. There was only one way to react – to stand up.”
And that is exactly what the team did.
After a week which had seen the Hornets twice lead 2-0 with around half an hour remaining only to then lose 4-2, the mood around Vicarage Road prior to the match was not good. With one league win in 15 matches, that was understandable.
Watford desperately needed a victory and a big performance from their players.
They got one.
The Hornets did not control possession for large parts against Brighton and were not at their free-flowing best. But the desire and work rate of the players was superb as they worked tirelessly to secure a battling victory – just their second home win since September.
“I am happy for my team and the lads. We came from three games where we didn’t get what we deserved,” Sannino said.
When his team’s superb pressing was mentioned, Sannino said: “We knew Brighton were the best team in the league in terms of goals conceded away from home and if we scored two goals then, you are right, it is because of the pressing but it is also because of the desire of my lads; the sufferance we were able to put into the game. We worked our socks off today.”
The fact the Hornets had failed to hold on to a two-goal lead in their last couple of outings was highlighted after the game.
He responded: “I was thinking that in one week we have scored six goals – two in each game – and it is not easy to score two goals in a game at any level. But I was not thinking about the previous match, it was only about closing out this game.”
Sannino instilled a defensive stability which had been lacking when he first arrived at Vicarage Road in December. However, there was little evidence of that during the second half of Thursday’s defeat at Nottingham Forest.
When the head coach was asked if today was more like ‘a Beppe Sannino-type performance’, he replied: “I have mentioned before that the schedule has been frenetic and hectic. Only time can tell us if this team will reflect my style and my football.
“Today it was very important to get a clean sheet and I am happy we were able to do it. Now we are focussed on the next game.”
Read Brighton assistant head coach Nathan Jones' comments here.