Watford 0-1 Stoke City. By Max Schwerdtfeger at Vicarage Road
MARCO SILVA blamed a poor first-half showing for Watford’s 1-0 home defeat to Stoke City on Saturday, as well as the visitors’ defensive approach.
The Watford manager was left bemoaning his side’s slow start to what was eventually a bad-tempered match at Vicarage Road.
The Hornets fell behind to a well-worked Darren Fletcher goal in the 16th minute and then struggled to respond despite having most of the possession after the break.
After brilliant recent displays at home to Arsenal and away at Chelsea, Silva was disappointed by his side’s performance.
“I didn’t like how we played in the first half. We gave them
the advantage for 45 minutes, and a big gift for them with the goal.
“It’s clear for us when Tom Cleverley is in that zone and you have one player ready to go in that zone — we lost our composure in that moment.
“After that, they were comfortable [in the] first half and we were too slow. We knew before they would come and play behind the ball and what they did is clear.
“In the second half it was more our image as a team, with more pace and intensity and it’s really difficult with 10 players behind the ball.”
In contrast, Stoke City manager Mark Hughes was very happy with his team’s reaction to last week’s 7-2 thrashing by Manchester City.
“For whatever reason, people talk about pressure; in hindsight the Man City result took a bit longer to get out our system, but we’ve done that this week and I’m pleased as punch.
“We understood what they would try and do and it was food and drink for our centre halves. We had the better chances, with Saido [Berahino] and Charlie Adam at the end — he told me he lost his bearing.
“But overall it’s a good performance, we’ve had a tough set of fixtures.”
Hughes also criticised Troy Deeney for his part in a melee towards the end of the game, caused by the Watford captain not giving the ball back after Stoke had put it out of play following an injury.
“Clearly we kicked the ball out and the right thing to do in the spirit of the game is throw it back.
“Deeney, the captain of the club, should know better but he shaped to play it into our box and that’s why Joe reacted.
“More often than not those situations get revisited by people in authority and decisions are made as a consequence.”