Mackay happy to keep Loach

Blackwell points to mitigating circumstances

Loach: Was wanted by Spurs

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Watford boss Malky Mackay expressed his delight at being able to keep Scott Loach as Kevin Blackwell revealed his surprise at Sheffield United's performance in the 3-0 defeat at Vicarage Road.

England Under 21 goalkeeper Loach was the subject of interest from Tottenham Hotspur on transfer deadline day, but Watford resisted the offer from the Premier League club.

Loach responded with another sound display for the Hornets as goals from Tom Cleverley, Heidar Helguson and Don Cowie secured a first win of 2010.

Speaking after the game, Mackay offered his gratitude to the club's board that the chance to bring in some much-needed funds from the sale of Loach was turned down.

Distractions

Mackay said: "There was a lot of speculation and distractions around Scott yesterday, but he realises the benefits of staying here and playing regular football and he was outstanding again.

"This is his first full season and he is improving every week.

"I made my feelings clear about keeping Scott and I was not put under any pressure to sell him.

"So given the recent financial situation at this club that is credit to the board, but also credit to Scott, his family and his advisors.

"He is aware of what will come his way in the future, but he understands that he needs to stay here for the time being and his attitude is first-class."

Poor defending contributed to the Blades' demise at Vicarage Road and, though surprised by his team's display, Blackwell feels there were reasons for the sloppy performance.

Blackwell saw Spurs right-back Kyle Walker recalled from his loan at the last minute on deadline day, while Fulham left-back Toni Kallio was not registered in time to feature and Craig Morgan then limped off with an injury.

Disjointed

"I was a bit surprised myself by that performance, but we had mitigating circumstances," said Blackwell.

"Yesterday we had a back four lined up of Kyle Walker, Nyron Nosworthy, Chris Morgan and Toni Kallio which looked as good as anything out there and I've ended up with nothing like that on the pitch at the end of the game.

"I've got players coming back from injury who are being asked to do a job and they are not ready. That was evident from that performance.

"Nyron has done no work with us and the back four was disjointed from the start.

"Watford have not had to work for their goals, they were all gimmes and that is unfortunate. To make it worse it looks like Morgan has broken a rib and he is the last player we need to be losing now."

Spurs chose to recall Walker at 4.45pm on Monday after they allowed fellow right-backs Alan Hutton and Kyle Naughton to leave on loan and Blackwell admitted the call came out of the blue.

He said: "We only knew about it 10 minutes before the deadline, but Spurs are well within their rights.

"It was a complete surprise, but football is full of surprises and you have to deal with it.

"We threw the game away, but the lads have been terrific for me since I came here and you occasionally have to take a result like this."