Belfast Telegraph

Pearson the right man to keep Watford up, says Hodgson

The new manager watched from the stands as the Hornets held Crystal Palace.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson backed Nigel Pearson to revive Watford’s fortunes (Adam Davy/PA).
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson backed Nigel Pearson to revive Watford’s fortunes (Adam Davy/PA).

By George Sessions, PA

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has backed Nigel Pearson to lead Watford up the Premier League table.

Pearson was appointed Hornets manager on a deal until the end of the season on Friday and watched from the stands as his new side played out a goalless draw at Vicarage Road.

The point did little for the hosts’ survival chances and they remain bottom, but it did end a run of three consecutive defeats.

Eagles boss Hodgson was pleased to secure a third clean sheet in seven days and believes the former Leicester chief can turn around the fortunes of the Hertfordshire outfit.

“I know Nigel well and I’m an admirer of his. He organises teams very well and gets his teams playing in a very disciplined and organised way. I think he has the right type of players for that,” he said.

“Watford were a good team last year and I don’t think they are anything other than a good team this year as well, but football and momentum does strange things to you.

“You get a few bad results and suddenly confidence goes a little and people don’t do what they did the year before and everything looks different to what it should, because these are the same players who did well last year.

“They have 25 senior players who are regulars in the Premier League, so he comes into a good set-up.

“I expect him to do what he does, which is to produce good teams. I would expect Watford to be climbing the table.”

Pearson spoke to the Watford players in the dressing room before kick-off and interim boss Hayden Mullins admitted his leadership qualities were evident immediately.

“I think that’s one of the reasons why the club have appointed him because they know that about him, they know his pedigree, he’s a top manager and he’s got a good group of players to work with,” said the Hornets under-23 boss.

“He said a few words with the lads. He introduced himself and went around the group, shook everyone’s hands and had a few words to say before the boys went out which was brilliant.”

Although Mullins was unable to end Watford’s long wait for a league win at home, he was proud of his players and enjoyed being in charge for the games with Leicester and Palace.

He added: “It’s been a great experience. When you step into coaching you look at where you want to go and obviously the development route is the first step and you’ve got to earn your stripes.

“But to have my first experience of managing a team in the Premier League has been absolutely unbelievable.

“It does leave you with a bit of a hunger to do more, but I understand where the club is and the manager they’ve just appointed is a very good one. We’re in a fight at the moment and we need to try and get out of it.”

PA

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