Marco Silva has applauded former club Watford for creating a fiery atmosphere on his return to Vicarage Road.
Silva, whose position as Everton manager is under mounting scrutiny after Watford consigned his side to their third consecutive Premier League defeat, was given a hostile reception on Saturday.
First, Hornets club captain Troy Deeney stoked the fire by calling on his team-mates to “kick the s***” out of Everton.
Then, Al Wilson’s 1960s classic, ‘The Snake’, was among Watford’s pre-match song selection at Vicarage Road.
Silva, who was sacked by Watford 13 months ago amid suggestions he had attempted to engineer a move to Everton, also faced a series of derogatory chants from the home supporters.
“It was clear the strategy during the week and for sure it was not a players’ strategy or a manager’s strategy,” said Silva. “It was something more than that.
“To be honest with you, my opinion is that it was a good strategy when you create something for everyone to all go in one way.
“Eighty to 90 per cent of the people don’t really know the truth – what I am telling you is that I was really welcomed by the people who know me and my work at this club – all of them.
“To know more or less the truth is what is important to me.”
Everton have lost nine of their last 13 matches in all competitions, and on Sunday, it was reported that Leeds manager Marcelo Biesla has been identified as a potential replacement for Silva.
The Toffees are ninth in the table, four points adrift of Watford, having played one match more.
Everton enjoyed greater possession and more shots than Watford, but appeared a side devoid of confidence.
“Yes that is true, and it is not good to see,” added Silva. “We created enough chances to achieve a different result.
“Some were in the six-yard box and we didn’t score.
“It was lack of confidence in some moments, but if we put the ball in the net we can start to achieve the results and the confidence will change in the team.”
For Watford, they have enjoyed a steady season under Javi Gracia and can afford to have one eye on a seventh-place finish and qualification for Europe.
Andre Gray, who was rarely used by Silva during his tenure at Watford, scored the winner after 65 minutes, his first in the league since September.
“We just want to test ourselves and see how far we can go this season,” he said. “We are going to try and win every game.”
Four people were arrested after an altercation outside Vicarage Road following the match left two men needing hospital treatment. The injured men sustained cuts and bruises to their faces, according to