Quique Sanchez Flores held his hands up and admitted his side were beaten by a far better side and revealed that it was a toss up between which two of the tired Troy Deeney, Valon Behrami and Odion Ighalo to leave out this afternoon.
Deeney, Behrami and Ighalo did not train on Thursday or yesterday following the energy-sapping draw against Chelsea and the head coach felt he could only risk carrying one player not at the peak of his physical condition. He opted for his 14-goal striker, bringing the other two off the bench at the break.
“We didn’t know exactly what was their level,” said the head coach. “They needed two days more. The physical level of Tottenham is amazing so I didn’t wanted to manage the gap [with three half-fit players]. I choose one player of these but even Ighalo was tired.”
Even if Deeney, Behrami and Ighalo had been in peak condition Watford would probably have still struggled to contain a free-flowing, rampant home side who have won seven of their last eight league matches.
“They played really well,” said the head coach. “It was really difficult to cope with their attack. They used the space in an amazing way. They have very good players and it was hard for us to solve every situation. We didn’t keep the ball. It was a completely difficult match for us. The idea was to defend well, close the space and work on the Tottenham mistakes. It was difficult to make high pressure. We had the best technical players on the pitch in Suarez, in Abdi, in Jurado, in Capoue, in Watson but it was impossible for us to play. We had to defend so deep and close to our pitch.”
It was a tough baptism for Mario Suarez who was chucked in at the deep end only to be dragged off at half time.
“It’s tough match,” said Watford’s head coach. “He tried to block his area, tried to play football. He needs to learn the velocity of playing here. A few times he was surprised. He is a very good player, a top player.”