Beppe Sannino believes Watford’s 2-1 defeat to Queens Park Rangers was the best performance of his reign and claims the deciding goal was conceded because he became “too British”.
The Hornets were superb in the opening half an hour of the match and after a decent spell for QPR towards the end of the first period, regained control after the restart.
The Golden Boys took a deserved lead on 51 minutes and had two more chances to extend their advantage before Joey Barton equalised with less than a quarter of an hour remaining.
Watford won a corner in the 89th minute and Sannino decided to send more men than usual forward in search of the winner.
But QPR countered and were five-on-one at one stage. Despite Joel Ekstrand making a challenge, Charlie Austin curled in a right-footed shot from outside the area to secure all three points.
“It was a very important game – almost a must-win game – and when we tried to score from the corner kick, they counter-attacked very well and we conceded in a game which I think was the best of my regime,” a proud Sannino said.
“Of course with a draw we could have had one more point in the table but my lads deserved more than one point.”
He added: “Maybe I became too British because I like the British culture of trying to win in the last seconds of the game.
“On that corner, if I had left three defenders behind like I did for the rest of the match and we didn’t concede the goal then we might have had one more point on the table. But I don’t have any regrets because that is the way I like to be. I am pleased with my lads because they tried to score.”
Other results went in Watford’s favour again this afternoon in the play-off race, with Brighton & Hove Albion, Ipswich Town and Bournemouth only picking up a point.
Watford are now six points below the play-offs with three matches remaining. But they do have a game in hand and a superior goal difference and Sannino has previously stated he will not give up on the play-offs while it is mathematically possible.
Sannino confirmed he “never” follows other teams’ results during Hornets matches and stated the decision to send more men forward for the corner was because “for 60 minutes it was only one team so I wanted to win this game. So yes of course it was my decision to try to find the second goal.”
Watford failed to capitalise on excellent openings in both halves, with several players failing to get shots away.
“We had the chances to kill off the game. We had them,” Sannino responded when asked if the 2-1 defeat emphasised how his team must make the most of their dominant periods in matches.
“Don’t forget QPR had nine changes from the last match and we played against a very good side.
“I tried to keep the best XI on the pitch and the majority of my lads had played more than 90 minutes 48 hours ago. This makes me proud and I have to compliment them even if I am old enough to know only the result counts.
“But today I think the crowd were very happy with the football game. There is a saying ‘viva sul calcio’. Come on football. It is good to be on this field [in England].”
“On one side I am happy because my team played very well and on the other there is a bitter taste because of the result,” he added.
Read Kevin Bond's comments on QPR's win here.
Here is a match report from today's game.