The current Watford manager could not be happier with his squad, but does not expect them to emulate Leicester’s shock title of 2015-16. “This is the best squad in the Premier League,” he said. “I don’t think we’d be able to achieve to win the championship. But we are going to try to enjoy every game, and try to do that for our supporters, help them enjoy it with us.
“It wasn’t our best game. We need many things to improve. Our first two goals were fine, but I preferred the last one when Isaac Success scored his first goal of the season from something we had trained for.”
Nonetheless, here was a challenge we’ve rarely experienced before, certainly since the 1980s. That of being the side… not just favourites but comprehensive favourites, odds-on favourites, expected to win in a top flight game. As with all unfamiliar things it doesn’t feel altogether comfortable, as positive an indicator as it may be of the status to which we’ve elevated ourselves. You’re much less open to disappointment – and pressure – as the underdog. Nor had this edginess been improved by finding ourselves placed at exactly the same spot in Wagamama as we had been pre-Bournemouth. Or by discovering, now as then, that it was much bloody colder than anticipated necessitating hat purchase for the second home game on the trot. (Or, as an aside, that the hat was too small. The costume fitters of the Adhoc theatre group will roll their eyes, full of complaints at the the prohibitive size of my head. Nonetheless… a one size fits all hat shouldn’t be too small…).
The joy was tempered somewhat by the worrying news of Glenn Hoddle’s collapse. Then, when I returned home, I heard of the Leicester owner’s helicopter crashing and the death of a Brighton fan after their game. The Leicester owners have been such a boon to both the club and the town, when something so awful happens, all football fans share the pain. My thoughts are with the family and friends of all affected this weekend.