Slaven Speaks - Watford

The manager had plenty to say ahead of Wednesday's Barclays Premier League meeting with Watford at the Boleyn Ground
Slaven Bilic was keen to focus on the future when he met the media to discuss Wednesday’s Barclays Premier League fixture with Watford.

With Sunday’s event-filled 2-2 draw at leaders Leicester City still fresh in the memories of the press, the manager was asked for further comment on a controversial afternoon at the King Power Stadium.

However, Bilic was eager to instead talk about the final five fixtures of the season, starting with the visit of the Hornets.

Slaven, the weekend game is still big news, so how do you look back on the game now?

“Of course that game is still fresh, but we played well. Leicester had won their last five or six games 1-0 and kept clean sheets, but we scored two goals and were good. The only thing I wasn’t happy with was the way we played after we scored our second goal. We just waited for the final whistle, didn’t keep the ball and we should have done better, to be fair.”

There were lots of talking points in the game, so what are your thoughts on those decisions now?

“I spoke about this after the game and I was sympathetic towards the referee because it was extremely hard for him in that game. We or the FA should find a way to help them and make their jobs easier. There was pressure there. It was an unbelievably important game for both teams, so it was hard for them.”

Are you still in the race for the top four?

“The gap is big, but the gap can be reduced if we win games. We are still in a big race for the European spots and we’re going to do everything we can.”

Have the recent decisions changed the players’ approach to games?

“Anyone who watched that game would have no doubt that our defeat by Man United didn’t affect our confidence or motivation, because we came back from 1-0 down on their home soil and were not happy with 1-1, so we chased for another goal. That showed we have great team spirit and determination, and great motivation of course.”

You face Watford next at the Boleyn Ground in the Barclays Premier League, so what are your thoughts on this game?

“We have a big game of football on Wednesday night, because Watford are a good team and one which has an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to this weekend at Wembley.

“The game at Vicarage Road in October was one of the very few times I have been really disappointed and angry after the game, because we simply didn’t show up and they deserved the 2-0 win. We had a very bad game.

“They have gone on and are secure in the Premier League and they also beat Arsenal away to get to the FA Cup semi-final.

“They may rest some players, but they have good and big squad full of international players. They have a certain way of playing and if they pick players who didn’t play at the weekend, they’ll have fresh legs, which is good for them.

“They are hard to beat and are very compact and it’s very hard to play through them with the way they play. The way their strikers are playing and have played, they are capable of harming teams.”

Finally, what is your team news ahead of the Watford game?

“With one training session to go, Diafra Sakho is back from injury so we have a full squad available, which is good.”