The Wokingham Paper

REACTION: Paul Clement on defeat to Watford, simple errors, Barrow injury and potential loans

Paul Clement says Watford deserved their victory

Paul Clement says Watford were fully deserving of their victory in round two of the Carabao Cup.

The Hornets progressed with a 2-0 victory at Madejski Stadium thanks to a goal in each half from Isaac Success and Domingos Quina.

Both sides made wholesale changes with Clement making eight alterations from Saturday’s draw against Aston Villa and he says he was upset with his side’s display.

On the defeat…

I think Watford deserved the victory because they played better than us. I’m disappointed with my team because I think we’re capable of playing better than that and I’m disappointed that the game wasn’t tighter and we weren’t in it for longer. I think on the night we made a lot of mistakes. You could say that comes from playing a high level of opposition or is it of your own doing? They’re a good side and they’ve got a lot of good players who are I’m sure really keen to impress. Javi (Gracia) made a lot of changes today but they’re still good players and they’re players that will want to try and force their way into that Premier League side. He’s got a lot of competition and his players did well.

But at the same time we made a lot of errors tonight, especially technical errors where I’d expect the players to be doing much better in some of the more simple aspects of the game. When I say simple, I mean the fundamentals of passing and control. I think that let us down. For example the first goal, we got the ball in a comfortable position and all of a sudden it turns hands and you’re open and they put it in your net. The second goal is a fantastic goal but that first one gives them the momentum.

On if confidence was an issue…

I think you can see it at times with the team. I don’t think we necessarily played very well when we went 1-0 down. We started to play better when we were 2-0 down but at that point I think the pressure is less and you tend to start throwing more bodies forward and you’re going to naturally create some chances. That’s possible.

But we have to brush that aside quickly because we’ve got a really important game at the weekend. I would’ve liked the team to have played much better tonight because I think they’re capable of more. At the same time we’ve got to push that aside and move on quickly because we’ve got a very important game here on Saturday, very important.

On if the poor start to the season has been a surprise…

I don’t tend to expect anything. You never quite know what can happen, you just do your best to control the controllables, the way you prepare, the way you train. The controllables for me are the team I pick, the tactics etc etc. So I’m not surprised. I had a difficult start when I was manager at Derby. I had four draws and a loss, we had four points going into the first international window, that was in five games. I have the opportunity to win five points after six games so it’s more or less the same. And I know that at the halfway point in my time at Derby, we were top of the table. Some things can happen.

The margins of our defeats in the league have been very, very tight. One goal against Derby, one goal against Forest, one goal against Bolton, the other two games were draws so the margins are very, very fine. We’ve just got to find a way of tipping that advantage in our favour and then hopefully we start to put together some results where we’re winning by a goal, maybe a draw away from home and then the points are adding up and you’re in a much healthier position. We’ve not been battered by anybody. That’s probably the performance tonight where we’ve suffered the most, but we’re playing against a team from a higher level. In all the other games we’ve been in it, we’ve been around it, we could’ve drawn, we could’ve won, we could’ve lost. We’re not damaged goods. Actually we’re not far away from getting some good results.

On playing with a different system…

I thought the start was really good. I’m not sure exactly when Javi changed it, it was quite early. Our shape worked well. It forced them into a system change. No coach wants to change their system after 10 minutes because you’ve probably worked on it at the training ground but that was credit to the way we started the game. Then we got a little foothold in the game and then it evened out a little bit until the goal and then we suffered a little bit after that. A little push at the end, but it was too late.

On the missed chances…

We had some decent chances. I thought some attempts where we were a little bit rash. One from McNulty, Liam Kelly’s one where we’ve got it in a good position and he’s just tried to blast it and just ended up slicing it. They are the moments where you need that real calm head and get it on target, at least make the keeper make a save.

On Mo Barrow’s absence…

He’s OK but we don’t want to get in a situation where we took him off in a game early on and then took him off again at half-time. We’ve got to get him fit, get him comfortable with issues that he’s got. Hopefully he’ll be available at the weekend.

On if any players pushed their way into his plans for the weekend…

I think in some cases there’s some players that are absolutely going to make it difficult for me to make a choice. And then in some other circumstances, the decision is easy.

On any new loan signings likely before the weekend…

It is potential that we could do something, it is potential that one, two, three could go out. But with each hour that’s going by, it’s looking more and more difficult but we’ll see.

On Chris Gunter…

I was really pleased about him for one reason. He’s missed six weeks, comes in and does 90 minutes no problem. He’s a fantastic athlete, professional, trainer and all the players could aspire to being like that as an athlete. It’s not like he can only do 60 or come off at half-time, or he can’t play because he’s struggling a little bit, he just gets on with it. Very robust.

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