Pearson Hopes Team Rested Well in Winter Break
After that tough draw with Brighton, Watford boss Nigel Pearson thinks that the winter break is enough time for the club to get back on its feet and continue the fight for the remainder of the second half of the season.
The team nearly had the win in their hands, but a critical error by Adrian Mariappa near the closing moments of the game inevitably forced a draw instead. Pearson knew it was big, and he explained that the team worked hard with a more disciplined level of play.
‘It’s a game in which we worked very hard out of possession, we were very disciplined and we frustrated them’, said Pearson after the game. ‘Apart from Foster making one save in the second half, we didn’t really give them too many opportunities to hurt us. In terms of frustrating a side who are possession-based, we worked very, very hard’.
The team felt dejected by the loss, and it seemed that the defeat took the team’s spirit for the season.
‘Our mixture of being defensively deep but pressing from the front was very good, the problem was that sometimes we didn’t quite make enough of our own possession when we had it’, Pearson added. ‘When you factor in what’s happened over the last couple of weeks, conceding late goals, there are going to be moments where you’ve got to keep your nerve. I thought the players were very honest, they worked exceptionally hard, but we know we can play better’.
Pearson explained that the team needs to recharge and keep working harder. The winter break came at the right time, and he hopes that the team is ready to continue fighting with 12 matches left.
‘I think the players are maybe ready for a few days off so they can recharge, refocus and come back ready to go all again, and that’s what it is’, Pearson said prior to the winter break. The team will have ample time to replan their strategies and refocus on the game. ‘People sometimes want to talk about how things change when you suffer a couple of setbacks and whether there’s a shift in how people are, but I always thought that we might get some setbacks we would have to deal with’.
Pearson also said that he wants his players to stay committed to the comeback plan because everything is at stake with the team still at the relegation zone.
‘Now it’s about us making sure that when we play, we give ourselves the best chance of winning games’, Pearson explained. ‘To do that it’s about doing what the game needs because sometimes it’s about the commitment to defend, and sometimes it’s about the commitment to attack’.
He explained the importance of letting the team recharge for their battle against Manchester United. ‘Let them recharge, refocus and come back ready to go all again and that's what it is’, Pearson said.
Pearson knew how the team’s morale went down right after Mariappa’s own goal, and he believed that the squad can come back stronger and better from their own mistakes in the game.
‘If players make mistakes, they make mistakes’, Pearson said of Mariappa’s crucial error. ‘It’s a ball that flashes into the box and as a defender, you have to try and deal with it. I do also recognise the fact that if he misses it they probably don’t get anybody on the end of it, but I think you’ll find with situations like that, the timings of it don’t give you an awful lot of reaction time. It’s unfortunate’.
Pearson knows that the team is doing well so far, but he thinks that the team has to move a level ahead if they are to get out of the relegation and lock in for a higher spot.
‘In terms of how we function as a team, generally speaking, we've been pretty good’, said Pearson. ‘We've looked like we’re scoring goals, the most important thing for me is that there's a collective attitude to both attacking and defending’.
The fight at the Old Trafford will be a tough one for the Hornets. The team will have to give everything they have got if they are claiming a win over Manchester United. Resilience and pace will surely come into play as the Hornets will have to battle both speed and grit against United.
‘The players' application has been great, I've been really pleased with how they've taken on the challenge that we've got’, Pearson continued. ‘That's my outlook, it's that our players are really committed, they will continue to do everything they can to put us in a better position as we move forward’.
Watford is definitely not giving up yet, and the team will be in for a long, tiring stretch of matches. Winning is a priority, draws are optional, but losing is not a part of the plan, especially with everything on the line right now.
‘What we’ve got to try and do is set ourselves the challenge of trying to win every game which obviously won’t happen but the intention is to go out there and fight for every point that is available, how that pans out it’s difficult to know’, said Pearson.
The head coach explained that the situation felt like a bolt of lightning that threatened his life.
‘You feel very, very threatened and not nice. This is a different type of challenge, it's not one where my life's in danger, hopefully. Time will tell’, he explained. ‘The bottom line is that we need to find goals throughout the squad to put too much onus on one or two individuals in particular to score, you have to accept that sometimes players will get themselves into goalscoring positions and take advantage of it’.
Words: Paul Daniel Flores