FA Cup Final: Inspiration from elsewhere could power Watford to glory

FA Cup Final: Inspiration from elsewhere could power Watford to glory

Watford go head-to-head with Manchester City in the FA Cup Final on Saturday aiming to stop their opponents from winning the treble.

City already have the Premier League title and Carabao Cup in the bag and they are massive favourites to make it a hat-trick of successes this weekend.

Watford, who have never won a major honour in their history, have reached the final of the FA Cup just once before, losing 2-0 against Everton back in 1984.

However, they will undoubtedly be hoping to take inspiration from previous finals that have resulted in the underdogs surprising more fancied teams.

Wimbledon’s victory over Liverpool 1988 immediately springs to mind, although a more recent final may be the inspiration for Watford’s bid to lift the trophy.

Wigan Athletic upset the odds in dramatic fashion back in 2013, with Ben Watson’s late goal securing an unlikely victory over City.

Sports psychologist, Dan Abrahams, has worked for numerous top organisations during his distinguished career including England Rugby, England Golf and the Football Association.

He believes that treating the game just like any other will help the Watford players overcome their nerves and give them the best possible opportunity of repeating Wigan’s heroics.

“Sticking to your normal routine is really important,” he told Betway. “You’re trying to help players perceive the game in the same way they perceive every game.

“Self-talk, breathing techniques and directing your focus an attention can help. A player can manage their stress levels by speaking to themselves: ‘OK, stop. This is a big game, but all I’ve got to do is stick to what I usually do.

“’I can’t force a great performance or guarantee a great result. I’ve just got to focus on what I can control’. It’s the controlling the controllables philosophy.”

Watford may also take encouragement from Liverpool’s recent comeback against Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

The Reds trailed 3-0 after the first leg, but produced a stunning performance in the reverse fixture to claim a 4-3 aggregate success.

Every Liverpool player performed the job handed to them to perfection, something Watford will need to replicate if they are to avoid taking a sure road to failure.

“Players need to, in pressure situations, focus on themselves,” Abrahams added.

“That’s their responsibilities within their role, their mental skills, having a consistent personality on the pitch, playing with positive intention and at the right intensity.”

“It’s easy to say these things, which seem small things and throwaway remarks but, ultimately, these can make or break a player’s performance.”