“We threw everything we had at them in the second half,” was the manager Malky MacKay’s verdict afterwards, but on this evidence that doesn’t amount to a great deal. Watford are now two points above the relegation places and without an away win in 16 matches.
Watford slumped to a third successive Championship defeat going down at Queen’s Park Rangers and had to play for nearly 70 minutes with ten men, after Brynjar Gunnarsson was sent off for deliberate handball.
Despite a certain amount of empty bluster directed towards Lee Cook and then Graham Poll, this was about feeble surrender, about shutting out the world. A performance that was utterly devoid of substance, and just about got what it deserved…and we’re simply not in a position where we can afford to abdicate responsibility for our fate, not yet. We have to intervene.
Here we are, then. Up to our necks in a swamp and sinking rapidly. You don’t need me to tell you want this result means, a ghastly defeat in a must-win fixture. And you don’t need me to tell you how it felt either, how the last thirty minutes were like watching your home being destroyed by a wrecking ball. And you certainly don’t need me to attempt to lift spirits with some kind of faux-chirpy, it’s-only-a-game, chin-up-son philosophy. No, you don’t need that.
Went off half time 2-0 up after another headed goal from Brown having dominated the first half. Mahon, in particular, had been a star in defence but, on the rare occasion that the boyz had given, or lost the ball, they went looking for it as unit, and worked very, very hard. Delightful stuff.
Still, let’s enjoy it. Sure, the scoreline gives little indication of what a hard-fought contest this was, nor that there were periods when Coventry were clearly on top. Until the third goal went in, we were never comfortable. That’s a good thing, though. We need challenges right now, we need to be tested, we want to get into the habit of meeting opponents head-on rather than hiding away. Just as we’d imagined that we’d seen all that Luca Vialli’s Watford had to offer – some gorgeous football, made mediocre by limp performances and stupid results – it has revealed a darker, more threatening side. A First Division mentality, if you like. A winning mentality, certainly.