Quique Sanchez Flores described the performance of Heurelho Gomes as “amazing” as the Brazilian shot shopper secured a point for Watford with two saves that will surely feature prominently on the club’s highlights reel at the end of the season.
Branislav Ivanovic had a look of incredulity on his face when Gomes stood up tall and stuck out his giant left paw to palm his goalbound drive creeping in at the near post deep into the last ten minutes. Diego Costa also stood in amazement, wondering how Gomes went one better minutes later to keep out his firm header that was destined for the back of the net.
“Amazing,” said the head coach. “In the first half we didn’t need him and in the second he saved two or three on the line. This is Heurelho. This is why we are always supporting him. Today he was amazing and he is an amazing leader for us.”
Guus Hiddink worked with Gomes at PSV Eindhoven. “He deserved the man of the match,” said the Chelsea manager. “He saved two or three big chances.”
After the sucker punches conceded against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City, Sanchez Flores declared himself “happy that we didn’t concede any goals”.
“We played well,” he said. “We have lots of reasons to be happy.”
Doesn’t he just. Watford are ninth in the Premier League table, 12 points clear of safety and were able to leave more than £10m worth of talent signed in January on the bench for virtually the entire match.
“We are very happy with one point against Chelsea, we deserved this point,” he said. “We were very competitive against Chelsea, who have very difficult and amazing players.”
Watford played with the foot to the floor in the first after a cagey first ten minutes before Sanchez Flores applied the handbrake in the second.
“We created attempts, we had control of the match,” he said. “I am really pleased with the first half. In the first ten minutes, Deeney and Jurado found a line of pass, they created attempts and we thought going to score. The second half was a little bit different, with mistakes with passes. We didn’t feel we have control of the situation and they play better than us in the second half. It is not easy to stop these players.”