Watford hero Gomes happy to step aside at Wembley
Heurelho Gomes is so happy with life at Watford that he will not complain if he has to watch from the substitutes’ bench at Wembley next Sunday.
Costel Pantilimon has been Watford’s FA Cup goalkeeper since he arrived from Sunderland in January and head coach Quique Sánchez Flores is expected to keep faith with the 6ft 8in Romanian for the semifinal against Crystal Palace despite Gomes saving two penalties in an outstanding performance at the Hawthorns.
Yet after his torrid time at Tottenham, where a series of highprofile mistakes cost him his place and meant his reputation was ridiculed, the 35-year-old Brazilian admits he is so grateful to feel loved again he will step aside gracefully.
“It is up to the head coach to decide and I will be prepared to play,” Gomes said. “But if he chooses to go with Panti I will not be disappointed. He has played in more cup games.” Gomes joined team-mates in crossing the field to applaud Watford supporters after Saturday’s win – only their third in 16 Premier League matches – took his side a step closer to survival.
“I feel loved again,” he said. “When the people like Watford gave me the support like they did, from the beginning, it’s great for the player. I find my place and I feel loved over here.”
The two penalty saves, both from Saido Berahino, gave Gomes his 11th clean sheet of the season as Watford protected the 27th-minute lead provided when Ben Watson turned in Adlène Guedioura’s corner. Flores praised his goalkeeper for “always thinking about the opponents” but Gomes confessed it was more spur-of-the-moment thinking that enabled him to outpsyche Berahino.
“I don’t know if he heard it – but in the first one I said, ‘It’s your responsibility, not mine’. In the second one I just said, ‘ You again?’”
Watford had slipped from seventh to 15th before this result, yet Flores maintains his team have exceeded expectations. “We started with the feeling that maybe, in this amazing league, we could suffer in every single match,” he said. “But maybe in only four or five matches we have felt the opposing team is completely better than us.”
Man of the moment: Heurelho Gomes, who saved two penalties from Saido Berahino, says he ‘feels loved’ again after a string of fine displays