Troy Deeney launched a robust defence after his form and fitness were questioned in the first four games of the season.
The striker was clearly off the pace in the first three league games and the cup game against Gillingham, the striker getting no change out of Virgil van Dijk at Southampton and, unusually, coming off distinctly second best in nearly every duel with Laurent Koscielny against Arsenal. Even Deeney’s most ardent fan would recognise he wasn’t at his rampaging and direct self but the striker feels he’s had a raw deal.
“My form has been alright, but when I just play alright for two games it’s deemed that I’m not fit, I’m not good enough and all the other b******* that they all say,” he said. “Football and media are fickle because if I don’t score today I’m having a goal drought and I’m not good enough. If I do score today you lot say it’s a good goal and everyone says what a great performance, Troy is back. I can’t really think like that. I’ve just got to do my work keep my head down and make sure my kids are happy.”
It was appropriate and significant that the equaliser on Saturday, coming as it did so crucially on the stroke of half-time, was scored by Deeney. The players rushed to congratulate their totemic captain knowing a foothold in the game had been turned into a platform for victory. He has scored more significant goals but not too many better than the one on Saturday.
“I’m too modest to say it was a good goal but it was nice,” said. “I’ve been getting a bit of stick recently because I haven’t been shooting but that’s because I haven’t had any chances. The ball fell to me and I thought no matter what, I’m shooting. There were two running back towards the goal-line and, if I remember correctly, it looked like there was a little space to hit the ball towards. So I thought I’m going to try and clip it. I didn’t try and take the leather off the ball – I just clipped it towards the back post and I knew it was in.”