May 14, 2021

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Troost-Ekong: Watford aim to keep clean sheet in every game

The Nigeria international has revealed the Hornets are doing all they could to win promotion to the English top-flight at the end of the campaign

William Troost-Ekong has stated Watford are aiming to keep a clean sheet in every game they play to boost their promotion target.

The centre-back has been a consistent performer for the Hornets since teaming up with the side from Serie A side Udinese last summer.

The defender has played 24 games across all competitions to help Watford to their current third spot on the Championship table.

The Hornets have conceded the fewest away goal in the league this season and Troost-Ekong has revealed their success is as a result of their teamwork.

“We’ve created that mentality this year. Every time the ball goes out of play we are reminding ourselves to keep a clean sheet,” Troost-Ekong told the club website.

“It’s an uplifting feeling to help the boys and take the pressure off the boys upfront. It means we only need to score one to win the game if we defend like that.

“It’s not just the centre-backs, the full-backs and the goalkeeper, though. It’s a team effort. Everyone is doing some leg work for the team, helping to cover the spaces and that means we have one job, which is to defend. We have had some outstanding performances in a real team effort.

Watford will take on Cardiff City in their next Championship game on Saturday and Troost-Ekong hopes they can secure victory in the encounter, although he admitted it will be a tough challenge.

“It’s going to be a massive game. The game at home against them was tough and we know what they will bring from set-pieces and how strong they are,” he continued.

“They are on a roll so we have to show them respect, but not too much as we aren’t a nice team to face either. We regret that defeat at home and we want to set the record straight. It’s going to a massive game for us.

“Each striker presents a different challenge. You have to be smart and not try and fight players like that all the time.

“You have to try and outwit them, make sure you stand your ground and not be pinned. You have to pick and choose your battles. I enjoy these sort of games and battles. We need to show them what we are about.”

Troost-Ekong has also praised his partner at the centre-back Francisco Sierralta for his solid defensive displays so far.  

“Serra has been fantastic. He has surprised everyone a bit, but I knew him from before at Udinese,” he added.

“He didn’t get much of a chance at the start, but he has worked really hard, trained really well and it’s a perfect example of hard work paying off. I am happy for him and really enjoy playing with him, just like I do with Craig and Kaba.”

Troost-Ekong is part of the Nigeria squad that will take on the Republic of Benin and Lesotho in the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers later this month.