Watford: Billy McKinlay 'ready' for step up into management

By Chris OsborneBBC Sport
Billy McKinlay
McKinlay has had caretaker spells in charge of Fulham

New Watford boss Billy McKinlay believes a decade of coaching at Fulham has prepared him for management.

The Hornets beat Brentford 2-1 on Tuesday to give the former Blackburn and Scotland midfielder a winning start in his first game in charge.

McKinlay, 45, had worked in the Fulham coaching setup until last year.

"I feel ready. I've worked for 10 years to get to a point where if I did get the opportunity, that I would be best prepared to do well," he said.

"I've not got any issues and I'm not under any illusions about how difficult it is. I'm really looking forward to it."

Odion Ighalo
Odion Ighalo scored his first Watford goal to put the Hornets in front against Brentford

McKinlay made more than 400 appearances during a 21-year playing career, which ended when he took up a coaching role at the Cottagers in 2004 to work under Chris Coleman.

He initially joined Watford as a first-team coach last week, but was given the top job on Monday when Oscar Garcia made the decision to step down following ill health.

The Hornets did not give McKinlay a straightforward managerial debut, clinging on to their 2-1 lead in the dying minutes, and the Scot admitted it had been a nervous experience.

"I'm on the touchline, panicking at certain times," he said.

"It was too open for me at the end. We need more control, but what it did show was the resilience that's required."

Watford held on to move up to third in the Championship, with Matej Vydra's stunning second-half 20-yard strike proving the difference between the sides.

"It was a terrific finish to say the least," added McKinlay.

"He's going to be a big player for us over the season, there's no doubt about that. Technically he is as good as any player in the league."