We need to start games better – Silva

Marco Silva is desperate to change his players’ mindsets and cast aside their recent slow starts which have cost them dearly on a run of one win from 10 in the Premier League.

Watford have shipped 12 goals in the first half of games alone during that run, including a 39-second opener against Manchester City on January 2, and falling two goals behind against Southampton last weekend before a second-half comeback earned the Hornets a point.

It is easy to get bogged down in statistics but between the 16th and 30th minute, Watford have conceded 10 goals and scored only one in league games across the whole of the season so far, and these sluggish starts are clearly costing them in the results department.

Silva said: “The slow starts are not something I want. Swansea is an exception, but what I’ve felt, excluding the Manchester City game, is that these things happen more home than away.

“I said to the players before the last match that playing at home needs to be an advantage for us.

“We are playing here, performing well, the fans want us to do that but we need to give something for them to get excited about.

“Second half was when maybe we felt the crowd really behind the team and getting excited, because we gave them something to get behind.

“It’s a moment they needed to feel something and we need to change our starts fast.”

The reasons which have left the Hornets playing catch-up in so many recent games are up for debate, but their confidence has taken a severe hit on the back of dropping from the Champions League places in October to six points outside the bottom three.

And ahead of tomorrow’s visit to Leicester, whose season has been almost a mirror image of Watford’s in terms of the Foxes’ recent upturn in form, Silva is drawing on that Southampton performance to improve his players for the visit to the East Midlands.

He said: “We will change the situation through working, analysing and talking about the situation. I did it today too. I’m sure we’ll change this kind of form.

“We didn’t perform well enough last weekend, and I didn’t recognise the team in the first half.

“I told them – you can perform well, or not, you can have a great day where everything goes well.

“But some important things, the courage and belief we have as a team must be good. Everything else is important, but we made some obvious mistakes. It’s not how I want us to be.

“Leicester are a very good team, with a good number of quality players, especially in the attack line but on the bench as well.“We performed well against them. We were losing but came back to win, and now they’re playing at home – we want to improve our away form so that’s what we’ll try.”