Saturday’s match against Southampton was definitely one of those which could be described as being a game of two halves.
Watford put in a lacklustre performance in the first half of a home game yet again, this time against a Southampton team who arrived at Vicarage Road at the wrong end of the table and well out of form.
The Saints could have been out of sight at half time if it weren’t for Heurelho Gomes and, on such an emotional occasion for both the club and fans, the Golden Boys let everyone down. I was quite frankly dismayed and I’m sure other supporters were too.
On the other hand, you could also praise the Hornets for not capitulating and battling back for a point, which on the basis of things, they probably deserved given the second half performance. Troy Deeney was instrumental in that second half showing, winning everything in the air and both he and Andre Gray caused problems as the Hornets switched to a 4-4-2 formation.
However, Watford cannot afford to start matches like this again, as we are just letting points slip through our fingers and we can’t do that for much. The gap to the bottom three is closing and we need to get back to winning ways as soon as possible.
But there are deeper problems which are seemingly bubbling below the surface at Vicarage Road and that is what I really want to talk about.
It appears Marco Silva and the board do not agree on certain things and that has become increasingly evident in the last week.
For technical director Filippo Giraldi to come out and enthusiastically state that Watford are very much happy with their squad, only for Silva to state in his press conference the next day that he wants some new signings, suggests a distinct lack of communication at Vicarage Road. The fact he was also unaware of Jose Holebas’ new contract raises alarm bells as well.
In recent years, Quique Sanchez Flores and Walter Mazzarri have both, seemingly, had some sort of say over who Watford sign, sell or give new contracts to. However, it appears Silva does not and he has not been afraid to hold back in his press conferences.
He’s criticised Watford’s decision to loan out Nordin Amrabat as well as the club’s activity in the last week of the summer transfer window and also spoken of knowing nothing about Molla Wague after his arrival among others.
All of the above suggests to me that there is a clear lack of communication between Silva and the board. Our recruitment has largely worked for us, but surely the head coach should have some sort of approval over who stays and who goes? Surely, he should have the final say over which deals happen and which don’t? Going by Silva’s press conferences, it doesn’t feel like that is the case at the moment.
If there was communication between the club and head coach, would Silva be moaning as much as he is now? I don’t think so.
I was by no means Amrabat’s biggest fan but we were silly to let him go without any replacement lined up, and it has certainly taken its toll on Richarlison as he looks knackered.
Perhaps Silva was promised more control over transfers when he agreed to take over in the summer, hence why he has been so vocal about transfer activity in both August and January.
But what’s clear to me is that we desperately need a couple of signings this month. We can’t rely on those players who are currently injured, as there seems to be no timescale over when they will return.
The Hornets are clearly weak in defence, out wide and in attack. If we don’t make any signings this month, then we will only be shooting ourselves in the foot. Maybe I’m reading into things too much, but if you also factor in the article in the Times on Saturday, which spoke of the problems at Vicarage Road in great detail, then it makes for grim reading for supporters.
It’s a shame, because what looked like being such a promising season has turned sour quickly.
Instead of targeting a top 10 finish, all I want now is for the Hornets to get to 40 points as quickly as possible. We’re no longer in a comfortable position any more. The gap to the bottom three is reducing every week and the Hornets simply must pick up points as quickly as possible.
Whether or not Watford have a successful second half of the season, I get the distinct impression that Silva will not be at Vicarage Road come August. In his press conferences, it comes across that the head coach is frustrated with the working environment and it certainly feels like the relationship between both the club and Silva is beyond repair.
Silva has never really stayed around at one club for long either and given the Everton situation earlier this season, it’s clear he would leave if a better offer arrives.
He’s clearly a talented manager, but he does have his faults. He certainly has to take blame for the Hornets’ poor run of form, alongside the board and players. That blame has to be shared collectively though, as our poor run of form can be put down to a number of reasons I feel.
It’s a shame as I thought Silva would be the man who would bring us a bit of stability, but maybe I was wrong.
Bradley Hayden is the founder and sole writer of @WatfordFCBlog