Ekong reveals how new Watford coach helped rediscover his form

Ekong reveals how new Watford coach helped rediscover his form

William Troost-Ekong says is happy with his new role under Watford’s manager Slaven Billic, adding that there is a general improvement in the squad following the arrival of the former West Ham United boss.

Ekong is enjoying a good spell on the pitch under the Croat manager who replaced Rob Edward last month.


 

The Nigeria international has featured in almost every game since Billic, and he’s currently one of the most improved defenders at the club.

 

“As a defender, he talks to me a lot and he makes it clear how he wants us to play,” he said.

 

“He likes us to carry the ball, try to pass forward more, and take on responsibility.

 

“He likes us to dominate the striker we’re marking, get the ball, and then be confident with it. He gives us the license to play and I think we have grown a lot when we are in possession.

 

Ekong also disclosed what Billic demanded from his defenders.

 

“The job of us at the back is to try and get the ball and then serve it to the real ball players in midfield and attack.

 

“That style of carrying the ball did take time to get used to, but now we’re accustomed to it. You’ll see that when we receive the ball, the midfielders and strikers are trying to create space and give us an angle to move the ball.

 

“The most frustrating thing if you’re a defender on the ball is not having a next pass available, and you have to start dribbling or taking risks that you don’t want to.

 

“I think the boys up the pitch are doing well to get into positions to take a pass. When you look up and you’ve got three options, our job is then to pick the best one.”

 

Troost-Ekong thinks the players are learning Billic’s way of playing very fast but highlights the area where they need to improve.

 

“Set-piece defending and the way we start games are the two things that were bad. We’ve too often looked vulnerable in the first ten minutes of games. That would give opponents confidence to push on and get the ball into our box.

 

“We’ve conceded too many goals from set pieces this season. Corners, free-kicks, situations where the opposition launches the ball at us. The issue there is being aware and everyone being switched on.”

 

“Positioning is important, but it really comes down to who wants the ball more. We’ve discussed that a lot now, and you’ll see that when the ball goes out for a corner or there’s a free kick, all of us are alert and that is the only way you can defend those situations.”He concluded.

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