Watford to fend off bids for star striker Odion Ighalo

Quique Sanchez Flores believes Watford are ready to fend off any January offers for star striker Odion Ighalo.
Watford to fend off bids for star striker Odion Ighalo

Watford boss Flores hailed Ighalo as “completely clever” for staying with the Hornets in the summer, after going on to fire 12 goals in 17 Premier League appearances.

The 26-year-old’s brace sunk Liverpool in Sunday’s 3-0 win at Vicarage Road, leaving Watford toasting four consecutive top-flight victories for the first time since 1987.

Watford’s Spanish boss Flores remains confident Ighalo will stay at Vicarage Road until the end of the season, even though his top form will doubtless attract a string of suitors.

“I think Ighalo is completely clever, he chose five months ago the option to stay here with Watford,” said Flores.

“He chose to stay here because he imagined something special for him. It’s very clever, he knew perfectly it was the best option for him. I think he’ll finish the season with Watford, after that anybody knows. We have amazing strikers, but we have the facility to score every single match because we create attempts.

“I admire these players because we create a plan, then they supersede the expectation I create before the match.”

Captain Troy Deeney and strike partner Ighalo terrorised Liverpool’s hapless defence on Sunday.

Both table-toppers Leicester and high-riding Watford have made a success in reviving the 4-4-2 formation this term.

“If you are playing with two strikers separate to the rest of the players it’s very difficult to stop other teams,” said Flores. “If you’re playing 30 to 35 matches with fewer players when defending then you can tire.

“So that’s the key: When we are playing with two strikers and we have the ball we have a lot of possibilities, for good football, counter-attacking, or playing long ball out of defence.

“But when we don’t have the ball they come back with the rest of the players and form a compact block. For us it’s necessary to be defending with all our players.”

For his part, Liverpool goalkeeper Adam Bogdan feels he was fouled for Watford’s first goal —but still accepts full responsibility for gift-wrapping Nathan Ake’s strike.

The stand-in goalkeeper accepted he should have completed a regulation claim on the corner. The 28-year-old suggested Ake had committed a foul in dislodging the ball from his clutches — an assertion backed by Reds manager Jurgen Klopp — but still conceded he should have dealt with the danger.

“I dropped the ball, of course,” Bogdan said. “There’s a mistake there. After that I felt my hand was on the ball and I was going to bring it out. Obviously he knocked it out of my hand — but we are talking about split-seconds. Through the bodies of course it’s hard to see. I’m not blaming anybody but myself to drop the first ball. Watford were really good but we — and myself — gave them a head start.”

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