19 April 2023

Sabri Lamouchi hails Cardiff players after ‘massive result’ in beating Watford

19 April 2023

Sabri Lamouchi hailed his Cardiff players for the 3-1 win at Watford that boosted their chances of avoiding relegation.

But Watford manager Chris Wilder laid into his squad for failing to operate as a team as the Hornets’ slim chances of making the play-offs all but disappeared.

Ismaila Sarr fired Watford into an early lead only for the Bluebirds to reply with three goals in the space of 10 minutes before half-time.

Kion Etete levelled just after the half-hour mark, Cedric Kipre fired City ahead four minutes later and Sory Kaba capped the comeback by posting a goal-of-the-season contender.

Lamouchi, who replaced Mark Hudson as manager in January, said: “It’s a massive result. The beginning was not so good – we didn’t start like we planned to start.

“I don’t have any explanation for that, we started to play when we scored.

“Kion scored a good goal and we started to play. Cedric’s goal gave the team power and confidence and after came probably the best goal of the whole season.

“We didn’t control the second half or keep the ball like I asked them but I liked the desire to keep the result. I’m proud for the players and very happy for them because they showed one more time the desire to stay in the Championship.”

The win lifted Cardiff above Huddersfield and Queens Park Rangers to sixth from bottom, two points clear of third-bottom Reading. City also have a game in hand on the five teams below them, against fellow strugglers Rotherham, who are a point and a place ahead.

Hornets fans turned on their players after Kaba’s stunning bicycle kick hit the back of the net for his seventh goal in 13 games for Cardiff.

They chanted ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt’ – and a furious pitch invader had to be ejected as well.

Watford manager Wilder made it clear he felt the same way about many of his players, saying: “I want to see a team, supporters want to see a team, everyone wants to see a team.

“The goal we scored summed it up – it was a team goal – but then all of a sudden everyone wanted to flick it and do their own thing.

“We basically said to the opposition ‘there you go, get back into the game’.

“I know people talk about shape but it’s about people doing their individual jobs for the team – the team is what people want to come and see.

“Manchester City have got talented players but they play as a team.

“The best teams in this division have great individuals but they work as a team. The teams that will be playing in the play-offs are teams – individuals will be sat on the beach.

“That 10 minutes was completely self-inflicted. They have had three or four chances and scored three goals. It has not been a smash and grab, it has been a gift.

“It epitomised the long-standing issues as well.”

Wilder is Watford’s third manager of a chaotic season and is extremely unlikely to stay beyond the summer. Instead, he is likely to leave the owners a fat dossier of the players’ shortcomings.

He said: “The club has been great with me, there has been no interference.

“I will give them my view at the end of the season on where the club is at.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox