Marco Silva admits he is ready for a hostile reception when he returns to Watford for the first time since his controversial departure from the club last year.
The two clubs remain in dispute over the nature of Silva’s exit from Vicarage Road and eventual appointment by Everton in May.
The Hornets were furious at what they believed to be an illegal approach by Everton in October 2017 that unsettled Silva and turned his head.
Everton ultimately turned to Sam Allardyce, but Watford’s form nose-dived and Silva was eventually sacked in January.
The Watford fans remain bitter at what happened and are likely to give Silva grief when he takes his place in the dugout at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, the Portuguese was keen to play down the significance of his Watford return, saying:
“I think it is not the time to make or to do reflection on last season.
“We are in the middle of a season. It is not the moment to talk about the situation.
“Watford will be a tough game.”
When asked about the less-than-warm welcome he is set to receive, Silva added:
“In football you have to be ready for everything. I am ready for everything.”
Troy Deeney fanned the flames at a Watford supporters’ evening earlier this week, urging the fans to leave Silva alone and allow the players to “kick the sh*t” out of their opponents instead.
Silva, understandably, brushed off those comments when they were put to him, saying:
“For sure it is not a distraction.
“Our players have to be ready to play a football match. It will be tough like all the other matches.
“We have to be at our maximum motivation.
“There is nothing different about what Troy said. If you search what he said two months ago, maybe it is a matter of strategy.”
Silva also offered an injury update ahead of the trip to Hertfordshire, confirming that Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines remained sidelined.
Yerry Mina, who also missed Everton’s last two matches after being forced off at Millwall with a foot injury, remains doubtful.