Marco Silva stressed the importance of respecting the FA Cup, the players respecting themselves and respecting the Watford fans after the Hornets safely made it through to the fourth round with a 3-0 victory over Bristol City.
Top-flight teams are often accused of disrespecting the competition if they make wholesale changes in order to focus on the Premier League, but Silva fielded a strong side and was rewarded as goals from Andre Carrillo, Troy Deeney and Etienne Capoue secured a professional victory against the League Cup semi-finalists.
The Hornets head coach said: “Of course it’s important when we win. Today we respect the competition, we respect ourselves and we respect our fans, we were serious to do everything and our obligation is to win and to qualify for the next round.
“Always when you win it gives more confidence to everyone and for us as a team it’s important we win. When we prepared for this game we prepared to win and we won 3-0, we didn’t concede a goal which is important as well. Now is the moment for our players to rest because the last month has been really hard for everyone, for all the players as well.”
Silva opted to start Deeney ahead of Andre Gray, despite the former Burnley striker netting in the 3-1 mid-week defeat at Manchester City, and while the Watford boss was pleased to see the captain find the back of the net on his return from a four-match suspension, he stressed the importance of having his three frontline strikers all available to choose from again.
“It’s important to him, it’s important that I have [Stefano] Okaka and all of them available for our team so I can take the best decision for each game.
“Of course it’s not normal in the last 10 games we only had him (Deeney) available for three of them. It’s important to get 90 minutes in his legs and to score one goal.”
Although Carrillo and Roberto Pereyra did not play the full 90 minutes, they were arguably Watford’s most impressive performers, combining intelligently on more than one occasion and none more so than early in the second half when Pereyra struck the crossbar after a fine move his teammate had been central to.
“They are important players for us,” said Silva, “but was a good opportunity as well to give some rest to Richarlison.
“Carrillo is doing very well. Every match he improves and improves with more confidence. Something he was missing the first three or four months he was here was to score, but he scored the previous game here as well (against Swansea City), and Pereyra is a really important player for me and I hope this is the moment for him to improve his physical condition to play at his level and the level I think he can play.”