Pearson needs to stay calm to get Watford survival bid back on track
Nigel Pearson’s arrival seemed to galvanise Watford and boost their chances of survival - but can they bounce back after a couple of setbacks?
There would not be too many who would have given the Hornets much chance of surviving the drop after a disastrous start to the season that saw Javi Gracia replaced as manager by Quique Sanchez Flores – only for the latter to be sacked for the second time by the club.
Their first top-flight victory did not come until November 8 away at Norwich and, by the time Pearson arrived, they were well and truly rooted to the foot of the table, with only eight points to their name.
The former Leicester City chief has previous experience of rescuing teams from the brink of relegation and he started to get his message across after a couple of weeks as result improved.
A 2-0 win over Manchester United kick-started a revival and three more followed plus two draws as the Hertfordshire outfit move out of the relegation zone for the first time in 2019-20 on January 12.
So what can the boss now do to get his players back up for the fight?
It will be tough and a glance at the upcoming fixtures suggests next Saturday’s trip to the Amex to take on Brighton could be pivotal.
Ismaila Sarr could recover from his hamstring injury for Watford’s match against Brighton but he may not be risked until the Manchester United game. [The Athletic] #watfordfc pic.twitter.com/DrTJomDRbF
— WD18 (@WD18fans) February 3, 2020
Graham Potter’s Seagulls are in a group that look like they will be around the bottom three at the business end of proceedings and it has therefore become the proverbial six-pointer.
Games with Manchester United and Liverpool follow and it will be imperative that the boss makes it clear to his men that the season will not hang on those two results.
However, with the way United are playing, Watford might fancy taking something from that clash at Old Trafford on February 23.
Troy Deeney will also play a big part, with the club captain and talisman now back in the ranks after a lengthy injury and his presence on the pitch makes the men in gold and black a more potent force.
Back-to-back defeats have not been ideal but it is far from all doom and gloom.
Individual errors cost them against the Toffees and if Pearson can keep his charges playing to the same standard as they have been, he could pull off another great escape similar to when he was in charge of the Foxes.