Watford can evoke spirit of Tevez to beat drop, says Hayden Mullins

Hayden Mullins believes his Watford side can channel the spirit of Carlos Tevez and West Ham’s dramatic escape from relegation in 2007 when they embark on their own survival bid against Arsenal.

Tevez was the goalscorer when West Ham won at Old Trafford, against a Manchester United side that had already won the Premier League, on the final day of the campaign. Mullins, who replaced him as a substitute, must now spur Watford to comparable heroics as caretaker manager and thinks he has the tools to repeat the Argentinian’s impact.

“Yes, definitely,” he said in response to the question of whether Watford had a player capable of producing similar magic to Tevez. “We’ve got some fantastic players. Carlos was a very good player, no doubt, but also we’ve got some good players. With different qualities, but that’s where we are at the moment. Some of the younger players in our squad are very, very exciting, and some older ones we will definitely need on the day as well.”

Ismaïla Sarr is perhaps Watford’s most likely Tevez analogue in a match where Watford must outdo Aston Villa’s result at West Ham to stand a chance of escaping the bottom three. But Mullins emphasised teamwork would be the key to showing doubters the error of their ways, just as it was 13 years ago.

“We had a togetherness, a good team ethic, and we all pulled in the same direction, which is exactly what the boys are doing at the moment,” he said. “A lot of people, after the Man City game [on Tuesday] and after Villa won, probably looked at it and said: ‘Right, that’s how the table will finish’.

READ  Football League: Phillips caps off Leeds gala, Bowen lands maiden Reading win

“We’ve got our own group, we’re confident, we’ve got a goal that we need to reach and if nobody else gives us a chance then I back these players 100%.”

Alex Ferguson rested Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes for the match in 2007, only deploying them for the last half-hour. With Arsenal planning for next Saturday’s FA Cup final it remains to be seen whether Mullins’s opposite number, Mikel Arteta, will shuffle his pack. But Arteta has his own reasons to pursue the three points, not least because his side’s defeat to Villa on Tuesday – a hammer blow for Watford – highlighted their problems against the league’s lesser teams.

“I’m going to put it simply: if we’re able to do the same next season against the top teams and improve a little bit with the others we’re going to be right up there with the best teams,” said Arteta, whose side have overcome Liverpool and Manchester City in the past fortnight.

Arteta, who said he could “write a book” about a tumultuous first six months in charge, has confirmed he will select a team that respects the relegation battle.


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.