London (AFP) – Watford manager Marco Silva has called for more of the self-belief his high-flying team showed in their win against Arsenal when they face “favourites” Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
The Hornets climbed to fourth place — one spot ahead of defending champions Chelsea — in the Premier League after coming from behind to beat the Gunners 2-1 with a stoppage-time goal from Tom Cleverley last weekend.
Captain Troy Deeney, who scored an equalising penalty in the match, made waves with his post-match comments that Arsene Wenger’s team had lacked “a bit of cojones” needed in the scrap.
While Silva is determined to move on — having had words with the striker — the Portuguese coach would like more of the same collective effort against Chelsea.
“I feel pride when I see the way they worked in the last match. I saw the ambitions we had in that moment, when we scored the 1-1 against a big team like Arsenal, we didn’t go back, we continued in our work and tried to achieve a better result,” Silva said.
“I don’t want my players to give up, and that is impossible when the result is open.”
Despite their lofty position, Silva, who took over at Vicarage Road in the summer after leaving Hull, remains determined to keep everyone’s focus on the job in hand.
“You want to compete every match and that’s our way. It’s important we show our ambition during the matches,” Silva told the club’s official website.
“Everybody knows what our goal is, and everybody knows for us it is not important what position we are in, but of course if you look at the table it is good for everybody.”
Watford have recovered strongly from a 6-0 trouncing by Manchester City to win two of their past three games and will be a tough proposition for Chelsea.
The Blues have not won in the last three matches in all competitions, unexpectedly losing 2-1 at Crystal Palace last weekend and drawing 3-3 at home to Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday.
But Silva knows Antonio Conte’s team will provide a stiff challenge, despite their recent struggles.
“You prepare to go into the match at Stamford Bridge to compete but of course the favourites are Chelsea,” he said.
“In football the last (few) results are really important, but for one team like Chelsea with the players they have in their roster, it is not the most important because they have players who can decide the match in one minute.
“They want to change their last two results from the Premier League. When a team wants to become champions, that is normal.”