Stefano Okaka notched the only goal ten minutes from time in a hard fought pre-season clash against Czech side Viktoria Plzen.
The win is Marco Silva’s first as Watford boss and was a vast improvement on the sloppy defensive display against AFC Wimbledon last Saturday.
Strong start by the Hornets
Silva’s men started well and Abdoulaye Doucoure went close after just five minutes, stinging the palms of Plzen’s number one with a fierce drive that was well saved. The intensity of the opening exchanges was high and that can be put down to the fact that Plzen are in Champions League action next week against Steaua Bucharest.
Again, it was the hornets who looked most likely, both Etienne Capoue and Ben Watson forcing smart saves from the Plzen keeper in quick succession. The Czech side then had their best chance of the opening 45 and should have taken the lead. After a swift break, a cut back from the right found Michal Krmencik in space, only for the forward to drill his effort into the base of the post.
The second half began slowly and Watford struggled to maintain the same intensity of the opening half. Plzen went close when a deflection across goal saw Jan Kopic volley wide when he should really have tested Costel Pantilimon.
New signing in action
Marco Silva introduced new signing and England Under-21 international Will Hughes for the remaining 20 minutes and the youngster provided some much-needed energy for the closing stages. Hughes was involved straight away, getting to the by-line and cutting back for Okaka, who miscued his effort.
The Hornets did find the winning goal with just over ten minutes to play. Nordin Amrabat’s fierce drive was only half cleared by the Plzen stopper, allowing Will Hughes to volley back towards goal and Okaka stole in and prodded home smartly to put Watford ahead. The hornets saw out the remaining minutes without concern to claim their first win of pre-season.
Watford Starting XI:
Gomes, Janmaat, Prodl, Kabasele, Holebas, Watson, Doucoure, Berghuis, Capoue, Success, Okaka
Subs: Pantilimon (60), Dja Djedje (HT), Amrabat (HT), Hughes (68), Sinclair (68), Rowan (Not Used)