Quique Sanchez Flores said he “loves his strikers” after Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo both scored to secure a 2-0 win over Norwich and send Watford into the top half of the Premier League table.
And who could blame him? Deeney and Ighalo have scored 14 of Watford’s 17 goals in the top flight this season and they are turning themselves into one of the most formidable strike partnerships in the club’s history.
Deeney’s penalty saw him become the first player to score in four consecutive Premier League games while Ighalo’s strike increased his tally in the calendar year to 25.
“I love my strikers,” Sanchez Flores said. “I don’t want to compare. I love the strikers we have. I love the team. We have passion, we have ambition and we have soul. I have the feeling that Ighalo and Deeney connect very well. I think that we have a very good decision when we decided to put Ighalo in the peak of the system, like the first striker, and Deeney in the back of Ighalo. It was a very good decision after three, four matches, because it is working.”
Ighalo now has nine goals in the league and how Watford are relieved the Nigerian turned down the apparent £200,000 a week move to China. Watford put a price of £10m on him in the summer. God knows what he’s worth now.
“We worked hard today to get three points,” Ighalo told BBC Radio 5 live. “We don’t want to get carried away. Me and Troy played well in the Championship and we know which way each other are going. We are causing problems for defences this season. Scoring 20 goals last season did not make me relax. I just wanted to keep working hard, learning game by game. We were calm today, scored two goals and got the three points.”
Deeney and Ighalo are not just arch goal poachers. They work their socks off as the first line of defence.
“For us they are very important but I always like to talk about the strikers for their collective work and not just for scoring goals,” Sanchez Flores said. “Of course they have this responsibility as the strikers but for us it is very important how they understand the system. They are pressing high all the time and helping the team with defensive tasks. I am very happy with Ighalo and Deeney and all of the tasks they do in the match. In terms of their attitude I think it is amazing what they transmit for the team and for the fans as they are the spirit of the team.”
If Emmanuel Adebayor signs, he will have some job to get in the team ahead of these two.