Decision to work with Valerien Ismael again at Watford was a ‘no-brainer’ – Jake Livermore

Jake Livermore has given an insight into what life is like working with Valerien Ismael again.

The former West Brom captain played for the new Watford head coach for eight months at the Hawthorns. The 33-year-old signed a one year deal with his new team last month as a free agent after seven years at his former club.

“When the opportunity came it was a no brainer to work with him again,” says Livermore.

“He’s got a headstrong ability of wanting to keep things where they should be: very disciplined on and off the field. You need that throughout a season and throughout a career.”

“That goes for staff, players, young boys coming through and himself. So to work alongside the manager (makes you) just a better person, a better player and an all around better team.”

Watford started the season with a 4-0 victory in their opening Championship game against QPR, but went out of the Carabao Cup on penalties to League One Stevenage. Livermore says parts of Ismael’s tactical approach have changed since his time at the Hawthorns, via a spell in Turkey.

“He’s adapting into playing out from the back now,” he says. “The press I’ve worked with before and it’s probably the best press I’ve been involved in. Even when he left my previous club, we continued on with that press and it was successful going forward.”

Francisco Sierralta started the first two games in the number six position with Imran Louza and Tom Dele-Bashiru ahead of him. During the Stevenage game, there was a mid game switch to a back three with Livermore moving into that midfield role after coming on as substitute.

“The way we’re playing, we’re going to have to play in so many different ways. Although (Sierralta) was playing in the six earlier, I come on and played in the six where it was a completely different role to what he was doing,” he says. “It depends on our position as well, we need to take the bits out of it, learn from them and the things we’ve done.”

The former England international is part of the senior leadership team within the squad along, which means helping the team roll with the punches: “We’re in there, we’re all positive, we’re all together. We win together, we lose together. When we win, you don’t need scraping off the ceiling and when we lose, it’s our job, my job, manager’s job, everyone’s job to make sure we don’t need scraping off the floor as well.”

Therefore Livermore called the Stevenage defeat a “learning curve” and “humbling” ahead of the next league game against Plymouth on Saturday.

“I’ve been through promotions and these things happen along the way. There’s no perfect journey,” says Livermore. “It’s a long season, it’s a marathon as we all know. We’ve got fantastic time ahead of us. We’ve had a game like this two games in and we can learn from it rather than two games from the end where we can’t.”

“I think the squad, I think the manager, I think it’s got a nice balance. It’s got a nice discipline about us now. I think it’s got all the ingredients we need to get where we need to get.”


Ismael refuses to overly criticise Watford after loss to Stevenage

(Photo: Getty Images)

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