Wednesday 21 February 2018

Garry Monk rues Swansea's 'sluggish' display in Watford defeat

Odion Ighalo's effort was enough to see of Swansea
Odion Ighalo's effort was enough to see of Swansea

Swansea manager Garry Monk rued his side's "sluggish" display after they suffered their first defeat of the season at Watford on Saturday.

Odion Ighalo scored the only goal of the game shortly before the hour mark to secure Watford's first victory of their Premier League campaign.

Heading into Saturday's encounter, the Hornets had failed to score in their previous four outings, and were without a single shot on target in their last two.

But the hosts, who had to see out most of the second half with only 10 men after Valon Behrami was dismissed for an apparent stamp on Andre Ayew, were good value for their victory.

Swansea, 2-1 victors against Manchester United in their final match before the international break, were off the pace and Monk lamented his team's performance.

"It was a poor afternoon for us, and nowhere near the levels we require to do well in this league," he said.

"There was a lack of focus on the good things that we do - what we are capable of - and we went away from that today.

"We were doing things that we do not normally do. We were sluggish with the ball and did not use the ball in the right areas and that is the reason we lost the game.

"I am disappointed with a loss and I am not going to come in happy if I have just lost a game, but the manner in which we lost is the most disappointing bit."

Watford had not scored since the opening day of the Premier League season, but a long punt up field from goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes was headed down by Troy Deeney before Ighalo, who signed a new five-year deal on Friday, calmly converted from six yards.

"It summed our day up - poor," a visibly frustrated Monk said of Watford's goal. "We had enough men there to deal with it and we didn't. It was an extremely poor goal and I am disappointed with that."

For Watford, their first strike since the opening day of the season and first victory will come as a much-needed boost in their bid for Premier League survival. The home supporters celebrated wildly at the final whistle as their side survived seven minutes of injury time.

"I am too old for this kind of extra-time - it was really long - but the experience of our players did really well in the situation," said manager Quique Sanchez Flores afterwards.

"We are really happy with the first win because we are wishing to score. When you create attempts but you don't score, sometimes the players forget they are working well.

"We told the players, 'don't worry, it is not a problem it is football', but it is better if we score and the players can be happy."

Flores' first Premier League win was all the more sweeter with his 12-year-old twins in attendance at a sun-drenched Vicarage Road.

"It was really emotional for me as it is the first time that they came here to the stadium because they were in Spain before," Flores added. "I like my kids here supporting me and they know today what I feel inside."

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