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Gareth Ainsworth says Wycombe ‘here to stay’ after Watford draw

Wycombe Wanderers v Watford – Sky Bet Championship – Adams Park
(Image credit: Adam Davy)

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth insisted his team will not be relegated from the Championship if they continue performing in the manner that yielded a 1-1 draw with Watford.

The Chairboys picked up their first point of the season and ended a run of seven consecutive defeats thanks to Anthony Stewart’s equaliser, after Ismaila Sarr had broken the deadlock for the Hornets.

Wycombe thought they had nicked the three points at the death only for referee John Brooks to penalise Alex Samuel for a foul on away goalkeeper Ben Foster, who had deflected the ball into his own net.

But despite being restricted to a share of the spoils, Ainsworth applauded the effort of his charges against a team who were competing in the top flight last season, and he is convinced they can now build on the result.

He said: “We’re here to fight and compete, not here to make the numbers up. Wycombe are different but we’re here to stay in the Championship.

“If we keep playing like that, there will be no chance we’re going down.

“I think it’s been coming. I think we’ve been worthy of a point at least in the last three games, and today I thought we might have got three. When the opposition keeper gets man of the match, I think that says everything about the game.

“Everyone keeps saying whether we’re not getting the decisions because we’re a smaller club, but I think it’s just not going our way at the moment.

“I hope people have watched the game tonight and thought Wycombe’s not going to be an easy game. We want teams to come here and have it tough.”

Watford enjoyed 68 per cent possession but were on the receiving end of many of the game’s best chances, and manager Vladimir Ivic accepted there were things to improve on after his team’s third draw of the campaign.

While identifying weaknesses in his own side’s performance, the 43-year-old echoed Ainsworth’s suggestion that last season’s League One play-off winners are going to prove a tough nut to crack for many teams this year.

“It was a tough night, but we expected that,” he said. “We played against a team that plays tough from the first minute until the last, and we didn’t do our job in the best way that we can.

“They created more chances than us and we can’t be satisfied with how we played. We need to learn game-by-game to improve our performance.

“If our keeper is man of the match that means we had a lot of problems. We had problems in our defensive shape, and after the set-piece we conceded a goal.

“We need to think about our performance, and we don’t have a lot of time to improve it.”