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The Reaction: Watford 1 Blues 0

Gary Rowett on Blues narrow defeat:

"We don't feel at the minute we can be as expansive as we would like. We can be at home, our home form is excellent.

"Away from home, we did it for 35 minutes against Bournemouth and caused them a lot of problems, but we couldn't perhaps reach those heights today.

"It was probably a more consistent performance but Watford are a very good side, they try to play through you, there is lots  of great movement around the edge of the box, which means you end up dropping deep, you can't allow space.

"But we hung on it, we were resilient, we showed excellent character.

"Just as we looked as though we were making the crowd a little bit nervous we conceded a very poor goal from a corner.

"It was the secondary phase, we didn't react to it, they put the ball in the box and it was a good finish. But he was unmarked.

"We shouldn't do that and that's just the small margins at the moment we can't quite make go our way.

"But I'm not too disappointed. We have taken a very, very good side close and made them a little bit nervous."


Gary Rowett on Watford bringing on Ighalo and Anya to give them fresh impetus:

"I keep saying it, but since we've come in our results would have us ninth in the league.

"If you look at the teams above us they have all got benches like Watford's.

"At the moment we are punching above our weight, we are doing  very, very well. It's just the next little phase, the next little bit, we can't quite get at the moment.

"And that will come in time, we will be able to build that in time.

"At the moment teams are bringing fantastic strikers on and players who are worth a lot of money and that's sometimes the quality that wins you games.

"We are certainly not going to moan about. It's probably the difference between the top teams and teams like us, who are trying to be a good team, trying to get better.

"I felt we could have caused them a few more problems, I thought they looked a little bit nervy at the back at times. But their forward play can be brilliant and it is very, very difficult to deal with.

"But we did it quite well and I'm  not disappointed with the performance, but the result. We showed great character and persistence to run them close."


Gary Rowett on Robert Tesche's half-time substitution:

"I thought he looked very tired. He's looked tired the last couple of game in certain spells.

"He has done brilliant for us and I didn't think there was any point burning him out. He just looked a little bit off the pace first-half and when you have someone like Dave Davis on the bench he can add a bit of energy.

"Probably I had half an eye on the next three games as well. We were just seeing if an early change could help us.

"It is a difficult job for those two midfielders (in the 4-2-3-1), with so much movement going on around them. You don't know whether to go and press or drop. If you go and press sometimes you can get picked off; if you drop too deep you allow them to play in front and they try to get that numerical

advantage in the middle of the pitch which makes it a challenge for you.

"Again, I felt we stuck to our task and the substitutions late on gave us a chance of chasing it. We went a bitmore direct because I felt we needed to get balls forward and see if we could get on a knock-down. We got a couple of good balls in the box.

"I was quite pleased with the response (to Watford's goal), we are never out of games."


Gary Rowett on what extra Blues could have done:

"Just had a bit more belief in the final third.

"We tried something different, going 4-3-1-2 (Lee Novak behind Clayton Donaldson and Wes Thomas) and that's just something we have looked at, as a possible formation change if we need to, so we can keep our two strikers up.

"Having one player in the hole behind, if we need to chase games better.

"We can perhaps be a little bit more direct the last 10 minutes and try to cause a team a different kind of problem.

"I toyed with going five at the back today. But when we have played the same way with a similar type of team that continuity has actually been good for us, it has given us results.

"There will be one or two changes in the last couple of games but if you have played all those games this season you certainly don't want to miss those last three."


Gary Rowett on Darren Randolph's performance:

"He was excellent. He is a terrific goalkeeper.

"He took a knock from Deeney when they had a 50-50, made a very good save first-half.

"He stiffened up a little bit in his knees but got through the game. I am sure he will be OK for Wednesday."

"Quite a number of our players did well today and can be proud."


Gary Rowett on the progress Blues are making:

"At the moment those small margins are not going our way. That's my job, to try and find the answer to that, whether it is a little more work on one or two ways of playing, one or two different personnel to go with the very good players we have got.

"I think people have undersold the very good players we have got here. We can compete with anyone on our day.

"We have shown that in the 28, 29 games we have been here. We have made good progress and we have got to continue that.

"We were beaten by one goal by a very, very good Watford team, we took a Bournemouth team very, very close, we drew with Derby last minute.

"We are not a millions miles away, although there is still a bit of a gap."




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