Malky Mackay outlined his squad satisfaction following the goalless draw away at chasers Watford on Saturday, a game where once again the substitutions slotted in seamlessly when called upon and the overall squad showed high levels of professionalism.
“We came away from home and kept a fantastic clean-sheet against the highest scorers in the league, our sixteenth clean sheet of the season,” he said. “I’m pleased with the way that we played in the first half, passing the ball well and being a real threat. In the second-half we knew they had to come at us and chase us as they were at home and they needed to win. I’m very happy with how we played in the second half, playing with intelligence and sticking to the game plan.
“We were really intelligent and we obviously had a blow earlier on with Matt Connolly going down very early. We also had a blow before the game with Fraizer in terms of not being able to be fit. But I thought the boys that came in were fantastic. Kevin came in, playing right-back and he was immense. Our back four as a whole blocked crosses and blocked shots. The midfield in front of them, the wingers, the forwards - I can't really pick anybody out because I thought overall it was a real intelligent game plan and an intelligent team performance.”
“I know the team Watford are. I know them inside out having watched them many times, so I know how they can play. They play a different shape that can cause lots of problems, so the team work and intelligence we displayed shows what we’re all about.
“Our two centre-backs were outstanding, playing against two of the best forwards in the division (Vydra and Deeney) – the one of them (Vydra) being awarded the player of the division award recently and both scoring an incredible amount of goals this year.
“We kept them quiet, relying on David Marshall to make one very good save. David is the best goalkeeper in this league. I gave him challenges at the start of the season and now he is full of confidence. He's kept another clean-sheet which is a phenomenal record and I'd be very surprised if he does not end up in the Championship team of the year.
“But apart from the one chance they were relying on bits and pieces, a little bit like ourselves. Defensively, to be fair I have to look at the whole team for how well they played in keeping them quiet. Right to the last minute I was impressed with how intelligent they played.
“It's another point towards out total. Are we going up? Ask me again with two games to go.”