Goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann admits Watford’s players haven’t worked hard enough and former head coach Rob Edwards has paid the price.
The Austria international has played in all 11 of the Hornets’ league games this season, often making saves to save or earn a point.
With Edwards now gone and replaced by Slaven Bilic, Bachmann says the new head coach is right to expect a lot more from his players – and yesterday’s 4-0 win at Stoke was an early sign of that.
“It’s got to be different in terms of the pace of work and the intensity because that wasn’t there and it all fell on Rob’s head and he had to go,” he said.
Edwards a “strong contender” for the Middlesbrough job
“But we players were out on the field and we didn’t run and we didn’t fight and we didn’t work hard enough.
“We have a lot of quality in this squad. But that doesn’t matter or count if we don’t run and fight and make an effort.
“If you don’t match the hunger and desires of the team you’re playing against, or if you have worse running stats or whatever, then the quality you have won’t make a difference. It doesn’t matter who you are or what qualities you think you have, you will just be outdated and overwhelmed. You are bullied on the pitch, that has to change.
“We know we have enough quality in this squad to move up and be successful in this league, but without the fight and the will, the quality doesn’t help us at all.”
Bachmann says changing the head coach so early in a season might seem like hitting the panic button, but he feels the season has just started and he doesn’t need to worry about where the Hornets currently reside.
Watford climbed up to seventh with yesterday’s win, but that doesn’t really matter to Bachmann at the moment.
“I don’t even look at the league table,” he said. “There’s not much point in looking at the table now. I think the first time you can start looking at the table is when we head out for the World Cup. Then you can step back and see where you are.
“The last time we were in the Championship in January we were probably 9 or 10 points behind Brentford and we passed them and were automatically promoted. Now I know Watford fans will be watching where we stand, but at this stage it really doesn’t matter.
“Teams that are now at the bottom end of the league could still move up. It really doesn’t matter at this stage.
“What matters is that we start to rebuild the confidence and the winning mentality. Last season was really tough in that regard and so we need to start developing that mindset that means you can win every week.
“We have to be prepared to run hard for 95 minutes and if you can’t run after 60 minutes then we have the players to change things.
“We’ve had 11 games, the season has just started and the most important thing now is not where we are in the table but what our mentality is and how hard we are willing to work.”
The former Stoke goalkeeper says he feels that while other teams closer to the top of the table are playing at their peak, the Hornets can take solace in the fact they still have a few more gears to slip through.
“I think Sheffield United and Norwich are probably at their highest level now, the best they can be. We have just reached 50% of our capacity. We’re still a long way from being what we can be and what we should be, and yet we’re seven or eight points behind them. That’s how we should look at it.
“We know we haven’t performed well as players in the league games we’ve played this season. We just don’t have it, you can’t hide from it.
“We know we can do much, much better and yet I believe the teams above and around us are the best. There is no need to feel anything even close to panic. The season has just started, we didn’t have the best start but we only lost two out of ten league games. It wasn’t good at all, but it’s not the end of the world either.”
As one of the longest-serving players in the squad, Bachmann has seen many head coaches come and go at Vicarage Road.
“It’s one of those things that happens in football,” he admitted.
“People in football know it’s part of the job and at Watford we know how the owner works. We know the business model and it’s been like this since they’ve been here. They stuck to what they do. The owner likes change and likes the little hustle and bustle that changes bring.
“Things don’t really change for us as players. We are professionals and we work together with the head coach.”
Did Bachmann see the change coming?
“To be completely honest, I hadn’t really thought about it,” he said.
“It was a difficult time for Rob. There was a lot going on off the field during the transfer window and we had injured players so it certainly wasn’t easy for him.
“But the problem with football is that it is about results and results count the most. If you look at our results, they weren’t what they should have been.
“Regardless of what’s going on behind the scenes, injuries and everything else, people look at the results and don’t care about anything else. They weren’t great and our performances weren’t what they should be either. As players we have to look at what we did on the pitch.”
The low point in the first 10 league games was the dismal performance and defeat at Blackburn, prompting Bachmann to try to speak to some of the angriest fans away.
“These people supported the football club for years, they were angry and the performance at Blackburn just wasn’t good enough. We knew that especially in the first half.
“Football fans express their frustration and we as players accept that. They spend a lot of money traveling to follow us across the country and Blackburn is a long, long way from Watford. If we go all the way there on a Tuesday night and then perform like we did – we understand that’s the reaction we’re going to get.
“The reaction that night was understandable. I think there’s still a lot of frustration from last season. As players we have to try to reconnect with the fans after such a bad season. We need to rebuild a relationship, and I told you that over the summer.
“We have to start by winning our home games and that hasn’t happened enough. Vicarage Road needs to be a fortress this season and it wasn’t – we need to change that starting Wednesday.
“We as players have to rebuild that trust with the fans. We have to appear in such a way that they can trust us. It should go without saying as a player anyway, but we have to show them that we’re willing to work our ass off for 95 minutes of every game. That’s what they want and that’s what we as players expect from each other.”
What has new head coach Bilic shown in the few days he’s spent with the Watford players?
“He has incredible experience at all levels of football,” said Bachmann.
“He’s been at European Championships as a manager and player, he’s played at World Cups, he’s been a Premier League manager and he’s been promoted from the Championship.
“There’s nothing he hasn’t seen in his career and it shows. It’s always like that with the arrival of a new manager you get a little extra momentum. No matter what club you’re with or why it’s happening, there’s always something special about a new manager.
“It’s strange because in training you expect top performance every day. That’s what you expect and what it should be. But for some reason, not just at Watford but everywhere, when a new manager comes on, instead of giving 100% you see people giving 105%.
“And that has been the case for the last few days. We also worked on tactical things. We can see how he can help us, that’s for sure. Surely he will be able to take care of us in the future. At the moment we still have six points to play this week and that counts.”
#Bachmann #admits #players #pace #intensity #work #contributed #Edwards #death