Saturday 24 March 2018

Almen Abdi: Confidence is high at Watford

Almen Abdi is hopeful that Watford can maintain their recent run of form
Almen Abdi is hopeful that Watford can maintain their recent run of form

Watford will go in search of a third consecutive Premier League win when they host Crystal Palace on Sunday - and midfielder Almen Abdi admits confidence is sky-high.

Having started their first season back in the top-flight with three draws and a loss at Manchester City, Quique Sanchez Flores and his much-changed Hornets side have hit a rich vein of form in recent weeks.

A victory at home to a Swansea side who had just beaten Manchester United followed by three points on the road at struggling Newcastle has left Watford in the top-half of the table.

In contrast, their opponents at Vicarage Road on Sunday have lost their last two fixtures having been one of the quickest out of the blocks in August.

The back-to-back wins have invariably led to a feel-good factor at the club and Switzerland international Abdi is keen to see that continue against Alan Pardew's Eagles.

"You can see that in how much we've improved since the first game," he said.

"After six points in two games, of course we have confidence. We did a great job against Swansea and Newcastle and we are playing well, but they were only two games, so we have to continue.

"There is no one game that is easy. It doesn't matter who you play, it'll be a tough game, but I think we've got the strength in the team, and the quality to compete against anyone.

"Every day we work hard, not only physically but tactically. We work on the shape, because the gaffer has his philosophy and idea of how to play."

Abdi, who scored on his league debut for Watford against Palace in a Championship fixture three years ago, is now a mainstay of a squad overhauled since reaching the Premier League once again.

Palace had the last laugh that year as they beat the Hornets in the play-off final and have gone about establishing themselves in the top division since.

But now Watford have joined them and Abdi is enjoying the challenge of coming up against some of the best players around.

"We've got a lot of respect for their team," he said.

"Players like Yohan Cabaye, Yannick Bolasie, Bakary Sako and Wilfried Zaha have a lot of quality, pace and power. I think the main thing will be how we defend.

"We can't give them a metre of space or give the ball away stupidly. I think it's going to be an interesting game. I'm very proud to play with Watford in the Premier League. I've always dreamt about this, and now I'm here."

Abdi started in both of the recent victories and is likely to retain his place at the weekend as Watford have no fresh injury concerns - with fellow Swiss midfielder Valon Behrami still serving a suspension for his red card against Swansea.

Press Association

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