Quique Sanchez Flores expressed his delight at the performance of his defence during Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League win at Sunderland, praising them for taking some of the limelight from his in-form strikers.
The visitors made a bright start at the Stadium of Light and were ahead after just four minutes, as Odion Ighalo netted his 10th goal of the season.
The Nigerian and Jose Manuel Jurado both saw fine chances go to waste in the following 15 minutes, before Sunderland grew into proceedings and ended in complete control through the second half.
Jermain Defoe was presented with two opportunities in the final 10 minutes, but Watford held on thanks to a stubborn defensive display, which Flores believes exhibited his team’s ability to dig in.
He told the BBC: “We started really well and for the first 25 minutes we did well with the ball and created several chances.
“In the end we had to suffer as a team but we showed we have very good character. Towards the end we had to defend well and we showed everyone that we can fight too.
“It was very satisfying to see. Everyone has talked a lot about the strikers, within reason because we have excellent strikers, always creating chances and supporting the team, but the key is that we are always defending with 11 players. What we do when we don’t have the ball is important too.”
Watford arguably would have had to settle for a point were it not for a stunning save late on from Heurelho Gomes to deny Defoe what looked a certain equaliser and the goalkeeper’s display was not a surprise to his coach.
“Heurelho for us is always one of our main players,” the Spaniard added. “His personality, attitude, how he helps in the dressing room and is always supporting the coach.
“His performance is not a surprise for me. Today he saved two very good Sunderland chances and I am not surprised.”