Belfast Telegraph

Watford defender Christian Kabasele targets top-half finish

The Hornets have won both of their games so far this term.

Watford defender Christian Kabasele feels the club could achieve a top-10 finish in the Premier League this season.

The Hornets have won both of their games so far this term, beating Brighton 2-0 at home and then triumphing 3-1 at Burnley.

They came 14th last season, one place lower than their best finish in the division, which came in 2015-16.

Kabasele was quoted on Watford’s official website as saying ahead of Sunday’s home clash with Crystal Palace: “We have quality.

“And, if we are lucky with injuries and have all the players available during the long period, maybe we can make the step into the top 10.

“But first of all we need to focus on the top target and that is the 40 points.

“We know with Watford, every season we start well and after we don’t win several games in a row.

“Compared to last season, I think it’s a question of being lucky with injuries, because the quality is in the team, for sure.”

Kabasele thinks it has been evident in Watford’s first two matches that “everyone wants to improve a lot” and that there may be a different mentality among the players this season to before, with a greater sense of competition for selection.

“When we look at the games against Brighton and Burnley we showed that when we lost the ball, everyone wants to win it back very fast,” the 27-year-old said.

“It shows that everyone wants to improve a lot.

“There are a lot of players who are waiting for their chance on the bench and there’s (a few) injured players.

“And maybe that’s the difference from last season when there’s only 15 or 16 players fit, maybe you don’t put in the same effort because you know that the next game you’re going to play, and this season is totally different with almost the full squad.”

Javi Gracia’s men face a Palace side who have so far won 2-0 at Fulham, then lost 2-0 at Liverpool.

Kabasele is set to face the danger posed by Eagles key man Wilfried Zaha, and he said: “It’s always a tough game against Zaha.

“He’s one of the best players in the league and you need to be focused for 95 minutes.

“When he loses one challenge maybe he will find another way so it’s very, very difficult.

“He’s quick, he’s skilful and you need to be more focused against this type of player because with one movement, he can pass you and run with the ball and the statistics show that when he’s playing, Palace rarely lose.

“It’s happened on Monday (against Liverpool), but he’s their best player and we need to be really focused to avoid him having a good game.”

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