English Premiership

Puel frustrated as Southampton held by Watford

Claude Puel (Gallo Images)
Claude Puel (Gallo Images)

Southampton - Southampton's French manager Claude Puel made a valiant attempt to communicate with the media in English after his first Premier League match ended in a 1-1 draw with Watford.

But Puel would have got his message across more quickly if he had known the good old-fashioned English footballing expression 'a game of two halves'.

Puel found it easier to understand reporters' questions than to comprehend how his team were so sloppy in the first half on Saturday and then so dynamic after the interval.

But then the former Monaco, Lille, Lyon and Nice coach is not the first overseas manager to be unprepared for the passion of the Premier League until they witness it first-hand.

And his message to his players is that they must trust their skills when that intensity is at its most extreme.

"I am disappointed because I thought we lost two points," he said.

"We could see a good second half with good situations but we didn't play in the first half with those qualities.

"I see the qualities of my players in training and I only saw this in the second half.

"I don't know why, but in the first half our attacking was a little difficult and with our young players we didn't get into the game.

"It wasn't difficult for Watford to score and it was difficult for us to find a situation with Watford's power."


Puel claimed that he had expected Watford to play as they did, although the defence seemed unprepared for Etienne Capoue muscling past his players to volley in Troy Deeney's header after nine minutes.

"I know this team has physical players and plays direct," he said.

Puel believes that the only answer for his team is to believe in their ability.

"We aren't as physical as other teams," he said. "But we have good technique and we have to use this against other teams. I think it's a good lesson for games in the future."

One player who took longer to settle than some was Nathan Redmond, who played most of the first half as the winger he has been rather than the central striker that Puel wants him to become.

That changed in the second half and Redmond volleyed a fine equaliser as well as going close on two other occasions.

"I spoke with all my players at half-time. It was a collective problem not just one player," he said.

"In the second half all the players wanted the ball and we had a solution, in the second half they took responsibility, which is good for the future.

"I liked the reaction. In the second half it was one team in defence and one team in attack."

Walter Mazzarri, the former Napoli and Inter Milan coach, was happier with his debut in the Watford technical area, where he worked up a considerable sweat urging his players on and signalling frantically to them.

"It has been only a month that I've been working with them so I try to transmit my ideas in this way," he said.

"I was very content, especially how the team played, with 100 percent energy. They played the way I like.

"Many times in the first half we got into their penalty area and had chances. But we didn't make the game safe."

Mon 06 Jul 20 21:00 PM (SAST)
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