17 July 2024


The head coach believes Watford have captured a real prospect, and also accepts he will need to hone his skills in a different type of football to what he experienced in Sweden.

“He needs to get to know the Championship and English football,” said Ismael.

“He has to recognise what it is all about here: the training methods, the way we want to prepare our players.

“It is all about a learning process for him, and the best way of learning is learning by doing.

“He is a long-term signing and we know he has the potential to make a big impact at Watford.


“Our job is to help him on and off the pitch.”

Another striker signing, Rhys Healey, has not played a minute of Championship football this season and didn’t even make the bench at Vicarage Road on Sunday.

“Sometimes at some point when everyone is fit you have to take decisions,” explained the head coach.

“This is what we have spoken about before with the size of the squad. If you have too many players and everyone is fit – which is my expectation – you will have difficult cases to manage.

“If you have too many of those cases to manage then it can create an environment that is less easy to work with.”

One player who has returned to fitness is Francisco Sierralta, who had looked to be settling into life as a No.6 before he sustained a quad problem.

“Sometimes you see a player and think you can compensate for missing that player. But then when the player is not playing you realise how big that miss is,” Ismael admitted.

“We are delighted he’s been training for the full week with the squad.

“At the minute he looks good and can be back in the squad tomorrow.”

Pozzo family in talks with US company to sell stakes in Udinese and Watford  - The Athletic

One player not in consideration for the game at Coventry tomorrow is defender Jamal Lewis.

“No, he is still in the rehab process and training individually,” said the head coach.

“We expect him to train with the team next week, and we will have a friendly game so he will have the possibility to get some minutes.

“If everything goes right he will be available for the Birmingham game.”

Imran Louza was dropped to the bench on Sunday after breaking one of the playing squad rules, and Ismael reflected on that earlier today.

“This is another part of the process. Maybe not an enjoyable part but we have to go through that process at some point,” he said.

“It’s serious what we are talking about. We put some rules in place, and for anybody at any time there has to be respect for the rules.

“If not, then they will force me to take action. I don’t want to take action believe me. I don’t want to compete without my best players.

“But nobody is bigger than the team and at some point I need to take decisions.

“For me this is normal. The reaction, from everyone, was really good. Everyone realised we are all in and everyone is ready to follow the rules. Now they know if they do otherwise, we will take action.”

One sort of action that Watford fans haven’t seen since the first half of the opening day is players celebrating a league goal.

“It’s all a process,” said Ismael.

“We have changed a lot in the way that we play. We create a lot of chances, and if you see the stats we are in the top three for chances created, expected goals, and defensively we are strong.

“We see a lot of positive things, but we can also see that we didn’t score and lost the last two games.

“We know we have to give a performance, but why do we want those performances? To win games. It’s clear we want to win games, and in order to do that you have to score goals.

“As long as we create chances and play well we know that goals will come.

“I also agree that you need to win games to grow confidence, and that is the purpose of everything we do in training.”

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