Friday 20 July 2018

Flores delighted as Deeney rediscovers his scoring touch

Stoke City0-2 Watford

Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores embraces Troy Deeney after the final whistle yesterday
Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores embraces Troy Deeney after the final whistle yesterday
Stoke City's Glenn Whelan tries to evade a Ben Watson tackle
Troy Deeney scores the first goal for Watford
Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes keeps out a Stoke City corner Newsdesk Newsdesk

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores stressed after Troy Deeney broke his Premier League duck in the win at Stoke that he had never been worried about the striker's prior lack of goals this season.

The Hornets captain, who scored 21 times last term, finally found the net when he put his side ahead with a low shot from fellow forward Odion Ighalo's clever tee-up in the 43rd minute. Flores said afterwards: "I'm really happy and wasn't worried. He has been working hard and is the soul of the team. But it is better for him because we know, for strikers and their confidence, it is very important when they score."

Deeney and Ighalo caused problems throughout, with each hitting the crossbar seconds apart moments before the opener, and the latter providing another assist as he set up Almen Abdi to make it 2-0 with a strike in the 69th minute.

Flores said: "Both Ighalo and Deeney played really well. It is very important how they keep the ball very well. They are always pushing the team."

The result adds to what has been a very creditable start to the season for Watford, who now have 13 points from 10 games and are up to 13th in the table - a place and a point clear of Stoke.

"I'm really happy with the performance of the team," Flores said. "We played really well - with a lot of confidence. The balance of the team was amazing, and when we play like this it is very difficult for Stoke and other teams."

Stoke were guilty of errors in both goals, the first seeing Philipp Wollscheid slip as Deeney shaped to shoot, and the second seeing Ighalo feed Abdi having dispossessed Marc Wilson, who had come on early for the injured Geoff Cameron. The Potters had gone into the contest on a three-match winning run, and boss Mark Hughes admitted he had been left mystified by the performance on his 100th game in charge at the club.

"We were poor, and credit to Watford," he said. "They came here with a good game plan and worked hard. They had a good threat with the two lads up front, who messed us around all day. We needed to be better. You have to put it down to individual errors, collective errors and the good play of the opposition."

Regarding Cameron, who limped off in the ninth minute, Hughes added: "It looks like he has pulled his thigh unfortunately. I think it is fair to say that probably disrupted us, but we can't hide behind that."

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