Pearson facing uphill battle to avoid the drop with Watford

Watford boss Nigel Pearson

Watford enjoyed an impressive start under Nigel Pearson but that new boss bounce is over.

The Hornets picked up 14 points from a possible 21 in Pearson’s first seven games in charge but their form has tailed off since.

The Vicarage Road club have lost their last two matches, and were on the wrong end of a comeback last weekend as they squandered a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 to Everton.

That defeat could have had a big impact on the confidence of the squad, and Pearson has urged his players not to dwell on the loss ahead of a key trip to Brighton on Saturday.

“Even with recent setbacks we’ve got ourselves back in contact and that is very important for us,” he said, as reported by the Watford Observer.

“We can afford to be slightly more optimistic and I think from where we were to where are now is a bit more encouraging, but the realism of being involved in a relegation battle means that you have to get over setbacks pretty quickly.”

Getting over setbacks ‘pretty quickly’ is easier said than done and Pearson has to find a way to get a response out of his side at Brighton.

Watford have dropped back into the relegation places and are two points adrift of safety, and three behind their hosts on Saturday.

When Pearson initially took charge they instantly looked like a different team. The Hornets were more adventurous in attack and appeared more organised in defence but in recent weeks old issues have started to creep back in.

In a recent 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa they struggled to keep hold of the ball and failed to create chances as they managed just two shots on target. Against Everton, they switched off at the end of the first half after taking a 2-0 lead and ended up conceding two goals from corners – and their inability to defend those set pieces will have been particularly concerning for the Watford boss.

Watford do boast a strong squad and on paper, they should be strong enough to pull clear of danger. Pearson’s arrival brought a wave of optimism and he harnessed that well to get them going on a run that has given them a real chance of survival, but if they are to pull away from danger they need to cut out individual errors and rediscover their confidence.