06 March 2024

Valerien Ismael not pointing finger after Watford error against Swansea

06 March 2024

Watford manager Valerien Ismael refused to criticise goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann and defender Ryan Andrews for the clanger that left Watford having to come back from behind to secure a 1-1 draw at home to Swansea.

Ismael opted to drop previous first choice Ben Hamer and restore Bachmann to the starting line-up for the first time in the league since November 28.

But the Austrian was the key man in an 18th-minute mix-up that gifted the visitors the lead.

Andrews stopped Przemyslaw Placheta from reaching a long ball into the inside left channel from Matt Grimes by heading the ball back towards his goalkeeper.

But Bachmann had come rushing off his line without the right-back realising – and both were left watching in horror as the ball bounced into an empty net.

Ismael said: “It was a lack of communication. It has happened – unfortunately. There is no antidote against making mistakes in football.

“At half-time we had to clear the air and then we spoke positively. At the minute this is really tough – it is a challenge – but we cannot drop mentally.

“We came back into the game so it is step after step. Just at the minute we need to get all the positives that we can get – and I think we will become stronger after this period.”

Bachmann made two good saves after that however – first to deny Ronald on the half-hour mark after the Brazilian had caught Jamal Lewis in possession and then to stop a close-range header by Ben Cabango near the end of the first half.

Ismael added: “When you are in difficult situations you have to make changes so we changed players, in the first half the way to play and a lot of things on the training ground, including the schedule just to make sure the players were aware about the situation.

“Every player is involved and for me the keeper position is like an outfield player – it should be possible to change the keeper just to keep everyone involved.”

Watford levelled in the 57th minute from a corner that was swung into the box by Giorgi Chakvetadze, who had replaced Ken Sema just before the break.

Wesley Hoedt flicked it on at near post with centre-back Porteous appearing to divert it over the line from close range.

Watford dropped to 13th spot – two places above Swansea, whose manager Luke Williams has seen his side pick up seven points from the last three games to edge away from the drop zone.

He said: “I felt at half time we could have been in front by another goal but Watford were really aggressive in the second half and we deserved a point each.

“We were value for a goal even though it was fortunate in the way it came about.

“We are feeling in a good place and in all three games we performed to a pretty good level but there is no doubt that we have a long way to go to being the best team we can be.

“We have been 2-0 up, 2-0 up and 1-0 up at half-time so we have to make better performances in the second 45 minutes. This is an obvious one.

“In the second half we have to either maintain our level or find a way to control the game better – that is what we have to learn.

“Overall we have been competitive outside the really top sides in the division.”

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