Watford 2 Newcastle 1
Steve McClaren insists Newcastle will avoid relegation from the Premier League despite another defeat at Vicarage Road.
Odion Ighalo ended his four-game drought without a goal when he scored the opener just 44 seconds into the second-half. Craig Cathcart then doubled Watford’s lead shortly before the hour mark.
Jamaal Lascelles pulled one back for Newcastle, but the defeat — their third against Watford this season — leaves the Magpies in the relegation zone.
But McClaren was buoyed by his team’s performance and is confident they’ll retain their top-flight status.
“We just said to the players we won’t have a problem if we keep performing like that every week,” said McClaren.
“Many people questioned the attitude of these players earlier this season and whether they cared. Of course they do and you saw that today and in recent weeks.
“I thought we did everything today but win the game.”
Watford ended their four-match losing streak in the league with Spanish midfielder Jose Manuel Jurado featuring more centrally as Watford boss Quique Sanchez lores adapted his formation following his side’s dour run.
“We needed to do something different after four losses. I needed to transmit a different message to the players in the meeting before the game.
“It was the third time we’ve played against Newcastle and they changed things in the other matches.
“So for us it was important to change the shape to 4-3-2-1. Playing with Jurado and Troy Deeney behind Ighalo is working well. We created problems for Newcastle.”
Newcastle have scored only six goals on the road this season, and McClaren’s side spurned good opportunities.
And McClaren was impressed with the link-up between Watford’s main men.
“It is about quality players and. undoubtedly, Watford are doing very well because they are always in football matches and they are always creating chances,” said McClaren.
“They have only scored 26 or 27 goals this season and Ighalo and Deeney have got about 22 or 23 of them, so you can see why Watford are doing well, and you could see today why we are where we are.”
WATFORD: Gomes,Paredes (Nyom 89),Cathcart, Britos, Ake, Behrami, Capoue, Watson, Jurado (Abdi 77), Deeney (Amrabat 90), Ighalo.
Subs not used: Pantilimon, Prodl, Guedioura, Anya.
NEWCASTLE: Elliot, Lascelles, Coloccini (Riviere 88), Mbemba, Janmaat, Shelvey, Saivet (Perez 59), Aarons (Gouffran 59), Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Mitrovic.
Subs Not Used: Thauvin, Darlow, Taylor, Marveaux
Referee: Andre Marriner.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved