A relieved Troy Deeney admitted he’d “been having a bit of a stinker recently” after he joyfully rammed in his 100th goal for the club.
Deeney had not scored since the 2-2 draw with Bournemouth in October and was relegated to the bench for the match with Crystal Palace after an ineffectual display last time out against Sunderland. But he charged off the bench to replace Valon Behrami in the first half and then slammed in a 70th-minute penalty to salvage a point for the Hornets. The goal saw Deeney become only the fifth man in the club’s history to register a century of goals for the club.
“It’s nice to finally get it [the 100th goal] done,” he said afterwards in an interview with Sky Sports. “I have been having a bit of stinker recently so it is a weight off my shoulders. I think it’s one of those that when I retire I will realise how nice it is. I’ve got to reach 105 now to get to fourth [and overtake Cliff Holton]. I keep setting targets, but the main aim is to get back to playing well. I thought I was poor against Sunderland so the gaffer had every right to drop me. I am no different to anyone else and when I get back on the pitch I want to make sure he doesn’t drop me again and thankfully I did that.”
There were more than 750 minutes between Deeney’s 99th and his 100th goal, the second longest lean spell of his Watford career.
“It was playing on my mind,” said the captain. “Once I scored against Bournemouth, everyone here at the club were saying they had T-shirts made up, and then after a while it drags on. If you are not having the best time in front of goal, then the best thing to do is smash it in as hard as you can and if the keeper gets in the way you are going to hurt him. I smashed it down the middle it went in, and it’s 1-1.”
Former Watford midfielder Derek Payne feels Deeney’s contribution goes way beyond the number of goals he has scored.
“It’s a massive achievement,” said Payne. “He hasn’t been here that long so to consistently score goals every season takes some doing. To be 28 and get 100 is some achievement and is testament to the player he is. He’s very underrated and so aware. You just have to look at the players who have played alongside him. Vydra scored lots of goals and so did Ighalo. Scoring is the hardest job in football and mentally you have got to be a certain type of person, and he’s clearly very tough.”