Watford head coach Quique Sanchez Flores insists his side will head to in-form Manchester City full of confidence for their Premier League clash.
City have looked in ominous form in their opening three fixtures, beating West Brom, Chelsea and Everton, scoring eight goals and conceding none in the process.
But newly promoted Watford have – in their own way – also made a solid start to life back in the top flight, drawing each of their three league matches so far.
A 1-0 League Cup defeat at Preston North End on Tuesday may not be the ideal preparation for a weekend trip to the division’s form side, but Flores has faith in his players to turn in another gutsy display.
“I think it’s about confidence,” he said. “It’s very difficult to play against this kind of team [City] that has a lot of players that can make a difference.
“In this case we need to be confident and try to keep the style we’ve managed since the beginning of the competition.
“We have reason to be confident and happy because it’s not easy to start in any competition at a new level.
“The idea is to be competitive against these kinds of teams.”
Asked whether he took added confidence from being unbeaten in the Premier League, Flores added: “We are trying to avoid relegation, of course, but we are only in the third match.
“But all the time we are above 20, 19 or 18, we have reasons to be happy.
“We tell the players to focus only on the next match and that’s why we can retire the pressure for the future.”
Flores’ confidence may not be misplaced, either, with Watford having given City a real scare when they last visited the Etihad Stadium in the FA Cup in January 2014.
Fernando Forestieri and Troy Deeney fired the then-Championship outfit into a 2-0 lead before a hat-trick from Sergio Aguero helped the home side to a 4-2 victory.
In addition, Watford edge the head-to-head figures in league meetings, winning five to City’s four of the 12 encounters.
Miguel Britos is suspended for the trip to Manchester after seeing red in the defeat to Preston, while fellow defender Joel Ekstrand (knee) remains sidelined.
City, meanwhile, look set to be close to full health, with only Pablo Zabaleta (knee) on course to miss out.
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