Watford boss Marco Silva eases pressure off Andre Gray

Watford manager Marco Silva admits that the pressure is off English striker Andre Gray, who arrived from Burnley on a club-record £18m fee.

The 26-year-old inked a five-year deal with the Hornets earlier this month, and he is expected to provide competition to the likes of Stefano Okaka and Troy Deeney in the forward department.

Gray, who scored nine league goals for Sean Dyche’s Burnley last term, is the Hornets’ seventh signing of the transfer window, and Silva is adamant that there is no added pressure on the striker due to his price tag.

He said: “It’s not the most important for me and it’s not the most important for the player. I want him to play here with normal pressures and not because of the price but because he’s come to Watford to work hard and win his position. I know he’s a player who wanted to come to Watford, which is important as well. He wants to improve in his career and fight for his position in the team and to improve our squad.”

Towards the end of the previous season, Gray found himself behind Sam Vokes in the pecking order at Burnley, and this paved way for his exit as he entered the final year of his Clarets contract. His former club have continued with the services of Vokes for the new campaign, but they are closing in on the signature of Leeds United marksman Chris Wood.

The Hornets have clinched four points from their opening two games of the new league season, and the partnership of Gray and Richarlison could be one to watch out for during the course of the campaign. Watford have made strong starts in recent years, and the focus will be on maintaining their form for the whole season rather than falling apart after the turn of the year.