Lewis McGugan: 'We are still targeting the play-offs but away form needs addressing'

Lewis McGugan admitted leaving Nottingham Forest was difficult but he has now

Lewis McGugan admitted leaving Nottingham Forest was difficult but he has now "come out of the other side". Picture: Dave Peters

First published in Sport Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy Group Sports Editor

Watford's players have not given up hope of reaching the play-offs but Lewis McGugan has stressed the Hornets must take the form shown at "fortress" Vicarage Road on their travels.

The Golden Boys have not conceded in their last six home games - a feat never previously achieved by the club.

However, on the road, Beppe Sannino has yet to taste victory in his nine games in charge, although five of those were draws.

Watford are nine points below sixth-place Nottingham Forest but they do have a game in hand on most of the sides above them, including the Reds.

And McGugan said: "It helps if you put points on the board away from home, especially for us because we have made Vicarage Road a fortress recently.

"We would like to address the away form and we are working really hard on that and if we can start picking up points away from home then you never know."

"We have 11 games to go and we have to stay positive; you never know what can happen," he added.

"There will be teams higher in the table than us who will slip up and there will be teams below who might have a run.

"We can use this as a platform and hopefully go on a run. You never know what could happen."

Saturday was McGugan's first outing since January 18 following his thigh injury.

The 25-year-old had previously started all-bar two Championship matches this season.

McGugan excelled during an opening quarter of an hour when the Hornets "blew away" Barnsley before the performance level of Beppe Sannino's men, and the midfielder, dipped.

McGugan said: "You are kind of playing on adrenaline for a bit when you come back. In the first half I felt good and it was good to be back. If anything the half-time break didn’t do me any favours because second half I struggled to get going a bit.

"At half-time I had a few knocks and I spoke to the manager and it was about not pushing it too much and if I felt anything then to come off. So it [being substituted] was precautionary."

He continued: "It has been massively frustrating [being out injured] so I didn’t want to do too much too soon and break down again. So I am happy to get 60 minutes under my belt and it was a good win; everyone is buzzing in the camp.

"Now we have to dust ourselves down and get ready for next week."

Watford signed ex-AC Milan midfielder Alexander Merkel and Cristian Battocchio has cemented his place in the team since McGugan's injury.

McGugan had been one of the first names on the team-sheet under Gianfranco Zola but he has welcomed the increased competition for places.

He said: "We are in it together. We are a squad and having more people in more positions gets the best out of each other.

"There are no individuals here with their own agendas. Whoever is picked will do their best and there is competition everywhere around the pitch which will make sure everyone is on it."

McGugan came through the ranks at Nottingham Forest and made 230 appearances for the club during his seven years as a professional.

He was heading into the unknown leaving his home town club for the first time and admitted in the summer that he found life at Watford "very tough" initially.

McGugan explained: "All I knew was my previous club so it was a massive upheaval, especially personally as I’m living down here on my own and my missus is still in Nottingham. It was tough and it has been hard to get used to but I have come out of the other side and hopefully now I can get fitter and stronger and have a good run until the end of the season before going again next year."

"It is like any walk of life; if you are happy and settled outside of work then it is reflected in your work," he continued.

"We are professional footballers so it is something that you have to get used to and we have to deal with it when it comes up.

"I was living in the hotel for the first two or three months which was very hard but it is one of those things you have to do. Now I have my own apartment which is my home away from home and I’m more settled. I’m a lot happier now and hopefully I can kick on and have a good run until the end of the season."

Comments (12)

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12:07pm Thu 20 Mar 14

Kismet110 says...

Interesting read, didn't know he lived down here (in a hotel!) just assumed he commuted. That can definitely affect a person, especially someone young and away from a comfort zone for the first time.

I really want McGugan to do well, he has the talent and CB cementing a regular place plus Merkel being here (hopefully into next season) as well as the return of Abdi should push him to be the player everyone knows he can be with some focus and application.

Regarding the play-offs I'm happy to hear players talking about it but it's up to them to produce on the pitch away from home to make that happen; even if our away record had been average (rather than shocking) we'd be in the play-off positions right now but 1 point and 1 goal from Yeovil, Bolton and Doncaster says it all really :-(
Interesting read, didn't know he lived down here (in a hotel!) just assumed he commuted. That can definitely affect a person, especially someone young and away from a comfort zone for the first time. I really want McGugan to do well, he has the talent and CB cementing a regular place plus Merkel being here (hopefully into next season) as well as the return of Abdi should push him to be the player everyone knows he can be with some focus and application. Regarding the play-offs I'm happy to hear players talking about it but it's up to them to produce on the pitch away from home to make that happen; even if our away record had been average (rather than shocking) we'd be in the play-off positions right now but 1 point and 1 goal from Yeovil, Bolton and Doncaster says it all really :-( Kismet110
  • Score: 11

12:21pm Thu 20 Mar 14

SuperHorns says...

Yeah I agree, I feel McGugan has a lot more to give. He has been hot and cold, but a great performance on Sat. Lets hope he sticks to his words and kicks on. He is going to be very important in making any realistic chances of a play off, so everyone should get behind this lad.
Yeah I agree, I feel McGugan has a lot more to give. He has been hot and cold, but a great performance on Sat. Lets hope he sticks to his words and kicks on. He is going to be very important in making any realistic chances of a play off, so everyone should get behind this lad. SuperHorns
  • Score: 6

12:36pm Thu 20 Mar 14

Harry's Bar says...

Kismet110 wrote:
Interesting read, didn't know he lived down here (in a hotel!) just assumed he commuted. That can definitely affect a person, especially someone young and away from a comfort zone for the first time.

I really want McGugan to do well, he has the talent and CB cementing a regular place plus Merkel being here (hopefully into next season) as well as the return of Abdi should push him to be the player everyone knows he can be with some focus and application.

Regarding the play-offs I'm happy to hear players talking about it but it's up to them to produce on the pitch away from home to make that happen; even if our away record had been average (rather than shocking) we'd be in the play-off positions right now but 1 point and 1 goal from Yeovil, Bolton and Doncaster says it all really :-(
Commute from Nottingham?
[quote][p][bold]Kismet110[/bold] wrote: Interesting read, didn't know he lived down here (in a hotel!) just assumed he commuted. That can definitely affect a person, especially someone young and away from a comfort zone for the first time. I really want McGugan to do well, he has the talent and CB cementing a regular place plus Merkel being here (hopefully into next season) as well as the return of Abdi should push him to be the player everyone knows he can be with some focus and application. Regarding the play-offs I'm happy to hear players talking about it but it's up to them to produce on the pitch away from home to make that happen; even if our away record had been average (rather than shocking) we'd be in the play-off positions right now but 1 point and 1 goal from Yeovil, Bolton and Doncaster says it all really :-([/p][/quote]Commute from Nottingham? Harry's Bar
  • Score: -4

12:45pm Thu 20 Mar 14

longcliffe says...

"Fortress" Vicarage Road? Didn't Watford lose 5 consecutive games earlier in the season?
Hardly a fortress.
"Fortress" Vicarage Road? Didn't Watford lose 5 consecutive games earlier in the season? Hardly a fortress. longcliffe
  • Score: -29

12:56pm Thu 20 Mar 14

Mickey Quinn, not so thin says...

longcliffe wrote:
"Fortress" Vicarage Road? Didn't Watford lose 5 consecutive games earlier in the season?
Hardly a fortress.
read what he says - "RECENTLY" , and he's right, recently it has been.

Can't be easy living away from his wife for most of the week. Though Nottingham's not quite as far away as the beard's family !!
[quote][p][bold]longcliffe[/bold] wrote: "Fortress" Vicarage Road? Didn't Watford lose 5 consecutive games earlier in the season? Hardly a fortress.[/p][/quote]read what he says - "RECENTLY" , and he's right, recently it has been. Can't be easy living away from his wife for most of the week. Though Nottingham's not quite as far away as the beard's family !! Mickey Quinn, not so thin
  • Score: 12

12:59pm Thu 20 Mar 14

lastminutewinner says...

I was happy when LM signed, he has experience in this league which I think we can all say (espeically this season) helps the team massively.

He is the new boo-boy though, replacing Mark Yeates. It's a bit of a two way street though, as I think he does things to get on our side like keeping possession to himself when a pass would be the better option, or his refusal to let anyone else take a free kick. Most of the time he makes the wrong decision the crowd get annoyed and we are back to square one. Luckily though Daniel Toszer has taken over corner duty!

I'm not really sure exactly what the solution is, he is a frustrating player to watch and I wouldn't have him in my first XI but he is a good asset to have. I'd put him on the pitch and bring him on when needed, he has a creative spark so if we are 1-0, 2-0, 2-1 etc down, he can come on and inject some energy and creative play to the midfield.
I was happy when LM signed, he has experience in this league which I think we can all say (espeically this season) helps the team massively. He is the new boo-boy though, replacing Mark Yeates. It's a bit of a two way street though, as I think he does things to get on our side like keeping possession to himself when a pass would be the better option, or his refusal to let anyone else take a free kick. Most of the time he makes the wrong decision the crowd get annoyed and we are back to square one. Luckily though Daniel Toszer has taken over corner duty! I'm not really sure exactly what the solution is, he is a frustrating player to watch and I wouldn't have him in my first XI but he is a good asset to have. I'd put him on the pitch and bring him on when needed, he has a creative spark so if we are 1-0, 2-0, 2-1 etc down, he can come on and inject some energy and creative play to the midfield. lastminutewinner
  • Score: -4

1:11pm Thu 20 Mar 14

Meadey39 says...

In the article, McGugan said hew was more settled. That is the word that should apply to the whole of the club. It needs to be more settled. In the summer thee needs to be key additions that will be first tema regulars. I hope we don't have another pre season where a whole load of players go out and another load come in. Lets try and have a settled pre season,
In the article, McGugan said hew was more settled. That is the word that should apply to the whole of the club. It needs to be more settled. In the summer thee needs to be key additions that will be first tema regulars. I hope we don't have another pre season where a whole load of players go out and another load come in. Lets try and have a settled pre season, Meadey39
  • Score: 1

1:26pm Thu 20 Mar 14

Only 2 Ross Jenkins says...

McGugan strikes me as the type of player who needs tough tacklers/busy bodies around him (eg Hogg). Someone else to do the nasty stuff.
Given the right blend within the team as a whole, he can be a great asset.
McGugan strikes me as the type of player who needs tough tacklers/busy bodies around him (eg Hogg). Someone else to do the nasty stuff. Given the right blend within the team as a whole, he can be a great asset. Only 2 Ross Jenkins
  • Score: 5

2:12pm Thu 20 Mar 14

LoveKeithDublin says...

LM frustrates me as he's obviously got loads of talent going forward. But he strikes me as a poser on the pitch, strutting around and letting others do the tracking back and graft.

I think the crowd would love him tenfold if he got his head down and worked as hard as everyone else on the pitch - he could be a great midfielder, but as it stands he's a good midfielder who occasionally scores great goals.
LM frustrates me as he's obviously got loads of talent going forward. But he strikes me as a poser on the pitch, strutting around and letting others do the tracking back and graft. I think the crowd would love him tenfold if he got his head down and worked as hard as everyone else on the pitch - he could be a great midfielder, but as it stands he's a good midfielder who occasionally scores great goals. LoveKeithDublin
  • Score: 1

4:10pm Thu 20 Mar 14

jaemae2 says...

Only 2 Ross Jenkins wrote:
McGugan strikes me as the type of player who needs tough tacklers/busy bodies around him (eg Hogg). Someone else to do the nasty stuff.
Given the right blend within the team as a whole, he can be a great asset.
He'd look a completely different player with a guy like Abdi next to him, it's a shame we didn't see that combo this year. Not a guy who's gonna do much for you when you don't have the ball. The overreaction to him here "undereperforming" is truly mentally special, though...
[quote][p][bold]Only 2 Ross Jenkins[/bold] wrote: McGugan strikes me as the type of player who needs tough tacklers/busy bodies around him (eg Hogg). Someone else to do the nasty stuff. Given the right blend within the team as a whole, he can be a great asset.[/p][/quote]He'd look a completely different player with a guy like Abdi next to him, it's a shame we didn't see that combo this year. Not a guy who's gonna do much for you when you don't have the ball. The overreaction to him here "undereperforming" is truly mentally special, though... jaemae2
  • Score: 0

10:26pm Thu 20 Mar 14

Hornet Cornet says...

Forget the play - offs. Focus on next season.

Off for a dollop

HC
Forget the play - offs. Focus on next season. Off for a dollop HC Hornet Cornet
  • Score: -1

11:09pm Thu 20 Mar 14

watfordrick says...

Why can't he do the defensive stuff as well - look at the Chelsea attacking midfielders they all track back, all tackle. If he wants a free role he's just not good enough!
Why can't he do the defensive stuff as well - look at the Chelsea attacking midfielders they all track back, all tackle. If he wants a free role he's just not good enough! watfordrick
  • Score: 2

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