Troy Deeney and Walter Mazzarri were in agreement that Watford won’t win any extra points for artistic impression this afternoon but the workmanlike manner of their win won’t bother them one iota.
The Hornets made fewer passes and mustered fewer shots than they have done all season but managed to chisel out a 1-0 win at Middlesbrough that put to bed the dire showing at Burnley and showed this team is capable of rolling its sleeves up.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” said Deeney. “It wasn’t pleasant. We defended resolutely at times and they didn’t create a chance of note. Going forward we could have done a lot better but we’ll look back at the end of the season and see that it was three points – it doesn’t matter how you get them. We battled, we fought for every ball, first and second ball and made it more difficult.”
Most pleasing for Mazzarri was the Hornets’ first clean sheet of the season as the team sorted out their Achilles heel from crosses and kept Boro at arms’ length.
“I am happy in general with the personality of the team,” said the head coach. “I am not so happy with the performance overall. It [the clean sheet] is a positive. It’s something to be proud of. It was very difficult to play in this stadium where Boro had the home fans on their side. They’re a very organised team. We were very good defensively but can do a lot better.”
Despite the win, which moves Watford up to ninth, there was still bemusement at the referee’s failure to send off Antonio Barragan after he committed the second of two cynical fouls on Isaac Success, who was a livewire throughout.