Roy Hodgson pleased with Watford’s composure in win at Aston Villa

Watford v Brighton and Hove Albion – Premier League – Vicarage Road
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

Roy Hodgson celebrated his first victory in charge of relegation-threatened Watford as frustrated Aston Villa counterpart Steven Gerrard told his players they need to “wake up fast”.

Without a win in all competitions since the stunning victory against Manchester United in November, the well-drilled Hornets dug deep at Villa Park to give their survival hopes a much-needed shot in the arm.

Emmanuel Dennis’ header from a Ismaila Sarr cross secured Watford’s first three-point haul under recently-appointed manager Hodgson, who was pleased with the way his side saw out an important 1-0 triumph.

“I thought it was a good performance,” the former England boss said.

“I think that in the previous three games there’s been episodes where there’s been good play as well.

“Certainly, I think the players’ discipline and desire to make life difficult for the opponents has been evident from the first game up at Burnley in atrocious conditions.

“I was pleased today that I thought our composure on the ball was better than perhaps it has been in the previous three games.”

Watford sit 18th in the standings and four points behind nearest rivals Newcastle, but there is no chance of Hodgson getting ahead of himself.

“I don’t think things are pretty close at the bottom because the three teams who are down there we’re getting divorced from the teams above us, so I don’t think it’s close at all,” the Hornets boss said.

“We can’t expect a good performance and result of our own to suddenly start impacting on the results of the teams around us.

“I’m sure (Burnley manager) Sean Dyche is as happy with his team tonight and the victory he got at Brighton as I am with Watford and the victory we got here at Aston Villa.”

As for Villa, boos greeted the final whistle after a disappointing afternoon.

Some of the frustration will no doubt have been aimed referee Robert Jones’ way but the overall performance from Gerrard’s men was below par, leaving him making similar comments to last week’s loss at Newcastle.

“Not too much different than my reaction last week,” Gerrard said. “Really frustrated and disappointed in the result and the outcome of the game.

“We have lacked quality in the final third, that’s for sure, and I’ve had a real honest conversations with the players.

“We need to wake up and wake up fast because our recent form and our recent performances are way short of what’s needed to move up this table.”

Gerrard was frustrated not to see a penalty awarded for an early Samir challenge on Danny Ings, but the Villa boss said that could not distract from their poor performance in front of goal.

“Look, in previous games we have had the creation, that inventiveness, we’ve looked exciting in a lot of games,” he said.

“But certainly the last two I need to demand more from players in the final third because we’re getting into crossing positions, we’re getting in, getting down the side.

“We’ve had 19 shots at the goal today but only managed one on target.

“For me, that’s a quality issue so that’s got to come from within the dressing room.

“We’ve got real talented players so it’s got to come from within. People have got to stand up and be counted.

“I take the heat, the pressure and the responsibility is on me. Of course I will.

“But when it’s a quality issue in the final third, it’s got to come from within the dressing room as well.”

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