29 March 2024

Leeds boss Daniel Farke happy with point after disruptive international break

29 March 2024

Leeds manager Daniel Farke declared himself delighted with a point from a 2-2 draw at Watford in the final act of a dramatic day of Championship action.

Leeds required a 85th-minute equaliser from substitute Mateo Joseph to preserve his side’s unbeaten league start to 2024.

The Spanish striker, 20, netted just 25 seconds after coming on but a point was not enough to reclaim the Championship summit from Ipswich, 1-0 winners at Blackburn earlier in the day. Before that, Leicester – 1-0 losers at Bristol City in a lunchtime clash – had dropped out of the top two altogether.

Watford led twice in the first half through Vakoun Bayo and Emmanuel Dennis, who scored either side of a fine strike by the game’s outstanding individual, Crysancio Summerville. Watford looked like they might hang on for the win but Joseph had other ideas.

It was a point gained rather than two lost as far as Farke was concerned and the German outlined exactly why.

“I will take this point all day long,” he said. “I am really happy and proud of the boys. We played this game at the worst possible moment. Watford, they have a new manager and there is new belief, he knows the players inside out and they were unleashed and had a great start.

“We had the worst possible international break. For us three players came back injured and three Welsh players had the disappointment of not being allowed to go to the Euros. We had not one first team training session as a team.

“We had to play this game by just pressing a button and we were not at our best rhythm. Then to play such a second half, I’m pretty happy with the outcome.

“We found our rhythm and our confidence. If training didn’t matter we would just turn up for the games – it matters.”

“The coach said we have to be ready make an impact,” Joseph added. “I’m happy to help the team get a valuable point and we are happy still to be unbeaten in the League this year.”

Watford interim manager Tom Cleverley, whose first game in charge was a 1-0 win at Birmingham before the international break, was delighted with his players.

He said: “I thought it was a much stronger performance even though we have not got the three points. For the first 65 minutes we were excellent, I’m really proud of the players tonight.

“What pleased me most was the focus of the players, not one switched off

“Now my job is to create a game plan to win every game and I thought the players absolutely nailed it.”

Watford were more attacking than they had been in the last days of previous manager Valerien Ismael, which pleased the home fans.

Cleverley added: “Everyone wants to play front foot football but you have to be structured especially against a team like Leeds.

“The work that we put in in the last two weeks showed today. It was a big ask to come up against the league leaders but we more than held our own.

“We have got the personnel to do it and I thought it was the right opposition to do it against. We just tired a little bit at the end.”

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