The Hornets have gone from being nine points adrift at the foot of the table and verging on the brink of relegation to within two points of climbing out of the bottom three in just over a month under Pearson’s stewardship. Ben Foster has admitted that he felt Watford were destined for relegation following their dismal start to the season, but now believes they are more than capable of staying up following a drastic shift in momentum under head coach Nigel Pearson.
Ben Foster said “When we had nine points just before the Man United game, I didn’t want to say it but it almost felt like there was a bit of inevitability creeping in. It was almost like it was: ‘unlucky again, lads. Unlucky again.’ It was always what we seemed to be saying, but it was 2-1 losses, 1-0, very close but unlucky and it was sort of creeping that way really. I think there’ll be a lot of teams now rueing the decision to not look at Pearson because I think if you connect the dots, look at his [Pearson] last job where he was at Leicester, he was the one who put in the ground work before they went and won the league and nobody’s really touched him since then, which now people are thinking they should have had a go at it.”
After a successful season that saw Watford finish in their highest ever Premier League position as well as reaching the FA Cup final, the poor start to the campaign has been the source of some confusion for people trying to work out from where the problems originated. Foster believes it was complancency, which eventually grew into a crisis in confidence.
Nigel Pearson said “I’ve worked very hard with the staff and the players to try and maximise what we’ve got. There’s no magic formula to going out there and making changes, the players have played really well in most of our games and I just think for us, I’m loathed to start speaking in terms of how things have changed, we’ll see how they’ve changed at the end of the season if we are able to retain our Premier League status and we’ve given ourselves a better chance with some results, but it really is about trying to sustain that and the players have applied themselves exceptionally well. I’m really pleased with not just their approach to games, but how they’ve approached working day-to-day on the training field and dealing with a very hectic games programme as well which has been really tough for us, as it is for everybody, but there’s lots and lots of hard work still to be done for sure.”
Despite his obvious impact, Pearson claims that the only thing he has done yet is increase Watford’s chances of escaping a very difficult situation. He did not want to be drawn into a conversation about how he has changed things at Vicarage Road and insisted that change could only be assessed at the end of the campaign.
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