12 August 2023

Valerien Ismael says Watford are on ‘right path’ despite draw with Plymouth

12 August 2023

Valerien Ismael shrugged off Watford’s wastefulness in front of goal in the goalless draw against Plymouth at Vicarage Road and accentuated the positives from their performance.

His side managed just three efforts on target from 20 attempts on goals, with striker Vakoun Bayo especially profligate.

Bayo struck shots wide in both halves as Watford dominated a Plymouth side that were always dangerous on the counter-attack.

“I am really pleased with the performance. We said yesterday that it is important that we put these performances in with consistency and with the right mentality. We saw that again today,” Ismael said.

“But we were not ruthless enough. We put ourselves in great positions and we played some great football, but when you miss opportunities, you keep your opponent in the game and they think that they can maybe get more than one point.

“I think we are on the right path. I am a winner, it is clear, but as long as you show the right attitude, you cannot win every game. As long as the players are brave, I will accept mistakes.

“We don’t say don’t worry about it, and I know that Bayo is disappointed that he didn’t get a goal, but it’s important that you create chances. He worked hard and I’m sure he will get better when he gets his fitness.”

Ismael embodied the bravery he demands from his players when he made a quadruple substitution after 56 minutes.

He added: “With the four substitutes we got exactly what we wanted. We wanted to keep up the pressure because at the end of first half, our energy wasn’t at the same level especially with our press.

“We wanted to keep up the intensity and it worked. We created so many chances in the second half, but when you are on top, you have to score.”

Plymouth manager Steven Schumacher was delighted by his side’s performance, particularly the determination of central defensive pairing Dan Scarr and Lewis Gibson.

Schumacher said: “The whole team worked really hard to get a deserved clean sheet and that’s what it’s going to be. We’re not going to be able to come into the Championship and coast through games.

“Dan and Lewis were superb whenever Watford managed to get behind us and get crosses in.

“I thought it was a really good game as nil-nils go, really entertaining. Two teams who did absolutely everything to get the three points.

“We knew Watford would come in full of confidence, so we had to get our organisation right behind the ball, but we also posed a threat on the counter-attack.

“I said to the lads at half-time that we could score and cause a massive upset. We had the chances to score. It wasn’t to be but it’s still very pleasing to have four points after two games.”

Schumacher’s satisfaction was all the greater given Argyle’s travel issues on the eve of the game.

He added: “Getting out of Devon in August is a disaster, so we decided to take the train, but an earlier train was cancelled.

“That meant there were no seat reservations and our players had to sit on the floor or stand up for three-and-a-half hours. The kit man came on the bus and it took him eight hours. The players could have used that as an excuse, but they didn’t.”

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