Pearson Opts Team to Stay Hot
Hornets new boss Nigel Pearson has a lot of hope from his players following that 3-0 clean sheet win over relegation rivals Bournemouth last week.
The team had two goals in the second half to cap off an impressive win which paced them out of the relegation. The win marks the first time that the Hornets was able to shine in the Premier League table.
The team had to dig in well in a tough first half before they had an opening that led to Abdoulaye Doucoure's goal in the 42nd minute. That gave the team a 1-0 lead to end the half despite Bournemouth hounding their goal since the opening minute.
Watford came surging in the second half, and that was when team captain Troy Deeney was able to sink his first goal of the game in the 65th minute as he managed to slip past two defenders after a miscommunication hampered the defence. Bournemouth could not keep up with the hustle plays by the Hornets in that half.
The Cherries had a lot of chances in fighting back, but they could not push through the tough defence that the Hornets had put up.
Roberto Pereyra added another goal in the closing moments of the game. He got wide open in stoppage time, which allowed him to strike one goal in. It was surely a satisfying win for the team.
'We did what we had to do to win the game and I think that’s the important thing from our own perspective. We’re finding different solutions in games and different ways of winning them', said Pearson. 'There are times we’ve played some really good football and won games, and then today was an example of when we showed quite a bit of resilience and game understanding but also using our quality when we could'.
The Hornets were at a disadvantage in every single category in that win. The Cherries had 57% possession advantage and made 528 passes in the game for a 78% passing accuracy. The team remained steadfast and before they took over to win by a clear margin.
'I thought our counter-attacking situations were really good and we created a lot of chances, we defended set plays with an incredible desire to keep the ball out of the back of the net and we needed to. It’s a great result for us, but we have to keep our focus from here on in', said Pearson.
It was the first time that the team has won on the road with Pearson at the helm. Also, that is his fourth win since he became the new boss after replacing former head coach Quique Sanchez-Flores.
'There are so many games left, it would be foolish to think that just because we’ve gotten out of the bottom three that the job’s done. There’s an awful long way to go', Pearson explained the team's focus. 'I think what it does is it quantifies the work the players have put in over the last few games. The Christmas and New Year periods have been very difficult and very busy, but our players have just got on with it. They’ve taken responsibility for their own performances and that’s important'.
Pearson understands the situation. The team has to keep their momentum going if they want to push further. It was one of those games that lifted the team's hopes of making it to the next season and beyond.
'We’ve put ourselves in a better position than we were a few weeks ago and that’s all I’m really prepared to say at the moment because things can change quickly. But the players have earned the right now to think in a more positive way', Pearson added.
It was also the third anniversary of Graham Taylor, and Pearson was happy that the win came on such an important date. That alone could give the team and fans something to smile about other than the win itself.
'You’ve got to remember the status of Graham Taylor at this football club, it’s huge. If that (winning on the anniversary) is something that gives the players and gives the fans an awful lot of pleasure, then I think that’s something else the players can be proud of today', said Pearson. 'I’m sure he would have been proud of that performance because it showed a lot of grit and determination as well as ability'.
Still, Pearson wants to reinvent and shape the identity of the team. He is still keen on putting the pedal to the metal as the second half of the season goes on.
'I’ve talked already about our club needing to in some ways re-establish its identity on the pitch', said the head coach. 'Because it’s never nice for players to be questioned and for our fans not to be able to make a connection with us as a football team. Hopefully they’ll have seen some character today and some desire to play for the club'.
That road win was a spark of confidence for the Hornets. It helped set the momentum that they are in right now. The team has been nothing short of impressive since Pearson came in. Everyone thrived better compared to when it was Sanchez-Flores at the reins.
This might be the making of one of the team's great comebacks in their club history.
The Hornets are set to face Aston Villa tomorrow as they are looking forward to create a bigger gap from the relegation as their quest for Premier League glory continues.
Words: Paul Daniel Flores