Christian Kabasele: "We don't think about what pundits say"

Christian Kabasele: "We don't think about what pundits say"

The Belgian defender has opened up about the mood in the Watford camp, his partnership with Craig Cathcart and his emergence as a crucial figure in the Hornets' dressing room.

Jake Horwood

Just weeks into the domestic season, Watford have broken a record of their own by winning their first two games of a Premier League campaign for the first time since the league in its current format was established.

The last time a Hornets team achieved such a feat in the top flight was in 1982/83 when the famous Graham Taylor sat at the helm and led Watford to a second-place finish.

Javi Gracia’s team now have the chance to make it three wins from three as south London outfit Crystal Palace travel to Vicarage Road on Sunday. Both sides have begun their seasons in respectable fashion — Watford with their two wins, and the Eagles with their convincing victory at Fulham before being beaten by a ruthless Liverpool side on Monday.

Palace are being tipped to end Watford’s winning streak at the weekend, which has reminded people of the popular prediction that this could be the year in which the Hertfordshire club face the drop — a prediction which was generally abolished after the wins over Brighton and Burnley.

But central defender Christian Kabasele insists the underestimation of him and his teammates never gets to their heads.

“We don’t think about what people think and what pundits say,” Kabasele told the Watford Observer. “The last three years we have been picked to go down, but we do not think about this.”

In fact, over the last three seasons, the closest the Hornets have been to the relegation zone was their 17th place finished in 2016/17. It was the lowest they had been in the table all season.

“We know the quality we have and we work hard and show the right mentality,” Kabasele continued.

"If we do that we can be safe by January or February. We need to keep going and let people say what they want to say.”



Christian and Craig: Watford’s warriors in central defence

A key component of Watford’s success in the opening two games has been Kabasele’s fruitful partnership with Craig Cathcart. The pair were scarcely fit at the same time during last season, however, they looked a real force in defence when playing together.

“I think we understand each others game quite well and we came back to fitness at a similar time. We weren’t always available at the same time, but when we played together we did a good job,” added the defender. 

But Kabasele knows that, while he and Cathcart are performing well at the moment, circumstances change quickly in football and no one’s place in the starting lineup is guaranteed.

“There is not only us in the team who are good defenders. We have Seb [Prödl] and Miguel [Britos] who are also great defenders.

“Maybe if mine and Craig’s levels are not good enough others will come in and perform. But maybe we compliment each other better.”

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Kabasele on his stance in the dressing room

This is the 27-year-old’s third season in Watford colours. Despite struggles for game time when he first arrived at Vicarage Road, injuries granted Kabasele a run of games in the squad last season and he has been perceived as a crucial player ever since.

“I am now in the best years of my football,” he said. “I have more experience in the position, and experience at international level with has helped me develop leadership and calmness on the pitch.

“We have leaders in every part of the pitch now which is only a good thing. I need to keep doing what I am doing this season because we are two games in and at the moment we are nowhere.”

Watford welcome Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace to Vicarage Road on Sunday, and Kabasele is realistic yet optimistic about continuing the good form.

"It was a very good win at Burnley and good to score three goals because everybody knows it is a tough place to go."

The defender, concluded by saying: “We need to build on this because at the moment it is only two games. We need to keep this attitude."