Marco Silva has suggested he has been working closely with Watford captain Troy Deeney in recent weeks to get the fans’ favourite back to form – and it looks to be paying off in his last two performances.
Having scored his first goal in open play of the season against Bristol City on January 6, Silva dropped him to the bench against Southampton last weekend, but was forced to fall back on his skipper at half-time, and his introduction helped change the game for the hosts.
Deeney’s season has been overshadowed by injury and suspension so far, but he could present a real asset in the second half of the campaign if he can finally put those issues behind him.
“He’s working well,” said Silva. “He’s working really well, I can tell you that. We have had a good conversation over the last few weeks.
“What I hope is he continues in this way. It’s clear to me, when you work in the right way, normally the match is a reflection of what we do in the week.”
The head coach, who often implies statements rather than explicitly making them, may have been hinting that Deeney has stepped up his level in training with his final comment.
But what needs no reading between the lines is the fact that both the 29-year-old and Andre Gray, who acted as his strike partner for most of the second half on Saturday, feel more at home with another man up front.
That will not deter Silva, though, who looks likely to continue with either an extra man in midfield, or defence, as he has started every game with this season.
“What impacts my decision is what I think the best solution for the team is,” he said. “It deosn’t matter what they think. What I feel is the best way for our team to be stronger or win the match is what impacts my decision.
“If I feel one player or another plays well in one system or style, I try to find solutions to do that. It’s something we work on with two strikers, but it’s not only that.
“Our wingers play wide and to play with two strikers, you have to play with different players out wide. It’s not just the matter of having one or two strikers which you have to deal with.”