Matej Vydra admits he is under pressure to fire Watford into the Premier League this season as every Hornets fan “is watching and waiting for me to score”.
The 22-year-old rejoined the Golden Boys this summer on a season-long loan from Udinese – a move which was seen as a statement of intent when it came to Watford’s promotion bid.
In his first spell with the club, the 2012/2013 campaign, Vydra netted 22 goals and was named the Championship’s player of the season.
A loan move to West Bromwich Albion followed but he struck just three goals in nine starts and 15 substitute appearances during the last campaign.
But he has returned to Vicarage Road and is expected to recapture the same form which he displayed during his first spell with the Hornets, something he says he anticipated.
“Three years ago I got injured and then I joined Watford the next season, so there was no pressure on me,” Vydra explained.
“This year I have come back and I don’t want to say I am a big star but every fan is watching and waiting for me to score.
“So it’s difficult and there is more pressure on me, but I like that.”
The Czech Republic international began his second loan spell at Vicarage Road with a goal in the Golden Boys’ 3-0 victory against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
He and Troy Deeney effortlessly rekindled their striking partnership. In the 2012/2013 campaign the duo struck more than 40 goals between them and both were on the scoresheet at the weekend.
Deeney has been the subject of several bids from Premier League sides this summer and interest remains in the 26-year-old.
Vydra hopes the Hornets captain will remain at the club and he believes Deeney would be difficult to replace.
He said: “If he goes we have lost 25 goals and that is too much. It would be better if he can stay here.
“He is a good player and the players follow him. He is a good captain and a good striker. Two years ago I enjoyed playing with him and on Saturday we played together and both scored, so I am very happy.”
Deeney is a big character on and off the pitch and he sneaked up on Vydra during the interview and started filming his strike partner.
Vydra was asked how big a loss Deeney would be if he departed but, before he could answer, a voice from behind the press said: “No loss, we’ve got the superstar back.” It was Deeney. “I’ll stop doing your job now, carry on.”
Vydra laughed and did just that. He says two or three Premier League sides were interested in him this summer but he claims he was happy to return to Watford after discussing the move with Hornets owner Gino Pozzo.
“He told me that he wanted to build a new strong side,” Vydra said. “I want to help Watford get promoted to the Premier League and that is why I am here.”
Vydra’s first loan moved to Watford ended with heartache as the club missed out on Premier League football after a 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace in the play-off final.
The striker, who believes the Hornets squad this season is stronger than the team beaten at Wembley, did get to play in the top flight at West Bromwich Albion.
It was a difficult season for Vydra who struggled to hold down a place in the starting XI and regularly found himself on the bench.
“I went to West Brom and Steve Clarke told me that I would get a chance in the side but then I got injured for two months,” he said.
“I didn’t get that chance and it was difficult for me. We changed manager and sometimes he would put me in the starting XI and I’d score but then in the next game I would go back onto the bench. I didn’t play 90 minutes back-to-back all season.”
But Vydra is now back where he is loved. That was demonstrated on Saturday when he was replaced in the 79th minute by Fernando Forestieri – he received a standing ovation from the Hornets faithful.
“At Watford we have great support from the fans, I heard them chanting ‘super, super Mat’,” he said with a smile. “I am very happy here. I am enjoying being back.”