Troy Deeney was red-hot as Watford beat Fulham 5-0 on Friday
Deeney hat-trick sees off ten men
WATFORD boss Slavisa Jokanovic was keen to keep his team’s mauling of Fulham in context, after they ended a run of four straight defeats with their biggest ever win over the Cottagers.
After Almen Abdi had opened the scoring with the first of his two goals, Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli saw red for a foul on Matej Vydra and the floodgates opened, with Troy Deeney hitting a hat-trick to end a fivegame goal drought.
But Watford’s season on the pitch has been as topsy-turvy as off it, and Jokanovic – sent off at Craven Cottage while playing for west London rivals Chelsea in his playing days – refused to get too carried away.
He said: “We are not the best team in the Championship because we win one game, but we were also not the worst team after four defeats. Celebrating this victory is not my way.
“We can be happy. A difficult November is over and hopefully we can do better in December. It was a very good performance.
“We had many chances before the first goal and then after the second goal and red card we had full control. It was very close to being a perfect game for us.
“We played like a team, attacked all together and defended all together. It was a team effort.
“In the last few games it depended on whether certain guys would score or not. In this game we had control and played well.
“We didn’t give Fulham many chances which is different to the last games where we have offered the opposition presents and paid an expensive price.”
The Hornets set their stall out from the off. Daniel Tozser’s whipped free-kick was spectacularly kept out by Bettinelli and the stopper was soon bailed out by Konstantinos Stafylidis, who blocked Deeney’s looping header on the goal-line.
But on 15 minutes Watford made the breakthrough when Abdi powered a free-kick underneath the Fulham wall.
Three minutes later Bettinelli saw red from Paul Tierney for clipping Vydra as the striker looked to jink his way beyond him and Deeney beat substitute keeper Gabor Kiraly.
Deeney latched on to Gianni Munari’s header to make it three before the interval.
Abdi curled in from 25 yards six minutes after the restart for his second and Watford’s fourth, before Deeney completed the rout in the dying seconds as he raced past veteran stopper Kiraly and slotted in.
Rather than publically tear strips of his players, Fulham boss Kit Symons preferred to look to the positives of his team’s secondhalf performance in a post-match press conference, briefly interrupted by a fire alarm.
“That’s the best thing that happened!” he joked, as the bell drowned him out.
“I said to the players at halftime that we couldn’t feel sorry for ourselves. The players had to show character and pride in the shirt. I felt we did that in the second half.
“It was a wonder strike for the fourth and sloppy defending for the fifth.
“The lads showed character though in the second half and I am proud of that.
“You have to try and learn from every game, win, lose or draw. It is obvious there is a lot of hard work and a lot of improvement still to be done.
“We started very poorly. You have to give Watford credit because they came out all guns blazing.We had warnings. Marcus made an excellent save from a free-kick before they scored.
“Then there is the sending off and we are 2-0 behind. However, we hadn’t played well up until that point anyway.”
AB-FAB! Almen Abdi, right, celebrates after scoring Watford’s fourth goal
TRIPLE CROWN: Troy Deeney completes his hat-trick with Watford’s fifth goal