Friday 22 February 2019

Paul Lambert satisfied as Stoke pick up a point against Watford

Potters are just above the drop zone while Watford are in 11th place.

Stoke City v Watford – Premier League – bet365 Stadium
Stoke City v Watford – Premier League – bet365 Stadium

By Sean Taylor, Press Association Sport

Stoke’s goalless draw with Watford was not the greatest spectacle but both managers were delighted with a clean sheet in their battles for Premier League survival.

The hosts had the best chance to break the deadlock just after the hour mark when Orestis Karnezis blocked Xherdan Shaqiri’s driven shot and substitute Peter Crouch headed the rebound straight at the goalkeeper.

Paul Lambert’s side lacked the energy which brought them a 2-0 home victory over Huddersfield in his first game in charge 11 days ago, but the Stoke boss was satisfied with a point from the stalemate.

“The first half I felt was a bit flat,” he said. “I thought they were better than us in the first half but we were better than them in the second half.

“But four points out of six and two clean sheets is a good start, for me personally and for the team, as it keeps the momentum going.

“I’m delighted with the start, although it probably was not as good a match to watch as the first game was, but if you can’t win it then you have to make sure you don’t lose it.”

The point was enough to lift Stoke back out of the relegation places, during a midweek round of fixtures which also saw many of their rivals collect points.

There were notable wins for Swansea and Bournemouth, with the latter beating reigning champions Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.

The Cherries are Stoke’s next opponents on Saturday and Lambert said: “I think there’s a lot of teams in the (relegation) battle and between now and the end of the season you are going to get results that go ways that people don’t expect.

“We have four points out of six, which is a good return for us, but when we play Bournemouth it’ll be totally different from when they played Chelsea. We aren’t Chelsea and we play a different way so we will have to go and cause them problems.”

It was Javi Gracia’s first Premier League game in charge, following defeat at Southampton in the FA Cup at the weekend, and the 47-year-old was encouraged to see Watford keep a clean sheet for the first time in 12 league matches.

“We got a point but the most important thing is the way we got it,” he said. “We played with more intensity and had a very good attitude, especially in the first half.

“Generally I am happy because of the way we get this point, I hope it will be the same in the future for us.

“It is the most important thing. To keep a clean sheet is the way to grow up. You can score two or three goals but to keep a clean sheet it is better to grow this way, that is important.”

Press Association

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