Soccer

Valerien Ismael claims Wesley Hoedt’s stunning goal came from training ground

Watford manager Valerien Ismael (Yui Mok/PA)
Watford manager Valerien Ismael (Yui Mok/PA) Watford manager Valerien Ismael (Yui Mok/PA)

Valerien Ismael revealed that Wesley Hoedt’s stunning goal which earned Watford a 2-1 win at Hull was perfected on the training ground.

The Hornets captain seized possession just over the halfway line before having the awareness to lob Ryan Allsop in an extraordinary moment of ingenuity on 74 minutes.

Ismael said: “Their goalkeeper has a massive part in their build-up and we know that some teams like Leicester and Hull play with high risk.

“I’m surprised by the quality and the technique, but the goal was not a surprise.

“We work on those patterns on the training ground. We know every time the ball went through the middle we had to defend aggressively and that was what happened.

“As soon as we win the ball high up we tell all the defenders ‘try it, try it’.

“If you see it on the TV, you could see Wesley knew what he was doing.

“It’s not a surprise because we worked on this one.”

In-form Watford have lost just once in nine games and are now three points off the Sky Bet Championship play-offs.

Ismael’s men opened the scoring after eight minutes through Edo Kayembe, who controlled Jamal Lewis’ good cross from the left before striking past an unsighted Allsop.

Hull, who remain in the top six, equalised two minutes later when Scott Twine swept home after Liam Delap’s brilliant run into the box was stopped by Hoedt.

An end-to-end game, in which the hosts had the better chances, could have gone the other way had Jaden Philogene not missed a second-half penalty.

Philogene’s weak spot-kick, awarded after former Hull midfielder Jake Livermore clumsily upended Jacob Greaves, was saved by Ben Hamer on the hour.

The Tigers had a clutch of good chances thereafter but never did enough to force an equaliser once Hoedt stunned the MKM Stadium.

Ismael said: “We are pleased with the improvement and the stability we have now got with the team.

“It’s been a long process and we had to start from the beginning.

“We are now more ready – tactically, physically and mentally. We are ready for the competition now.

“If you win games with consistency you can start to plug the gap at the top of the league.

“The second half was a different game. The first half was really, really good but in the second half we saw the tiredness the players put into the first half.

“It’s a great feeling that we are getting the reward from our performances, but it’s all about staying stable and continuing to push.”

Head coach Liam Rosenior was crestfallen by the result.

He said: “I’ve never in my playing career and coaching/managerial career had a feeling like this.

“If we’d have drawn, I’d have been disappointed. I don’t know what to say. I thought we were by far the better team, but they scored an absolute miracle goal – the lad nicks it and hits an absolute wonder strike.

“It’s not a crisis. That’s an outstanding performance. On another day we maybe win it by two, three or four.

“I can’t fault the players and I want them to stay positive.”

Rosenior, whose side had won their last three home games, added: “There’s a consistent dominance about our play now and that’s pleasing.

“The lads are a really resilient group and the players have been magnificent.

“There’s so much good to us. I don’t want to come across arrogant, but I said to the players, ‘I’m angry for you, not angry with you’.

“We have to use a negative experience and turn it into a positive.

“We shouldn’t be happy with the top six, we should be pushing for top two.”