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Pearson not fretting over dropped points in Watford’s survival bid

Watford boss Nigel Pearson is not dwelling on missed opportunities despite seeing his side throw away eight points in their last three matches.

The Hornets were leading Aston Villa and 2-0 up against Everton but came away with nothing, while Adrian Mariappa’s late own-goal salvaged a 1-1 draw for Brighton last time out.

The picture could have looked very different ahead of Sunday’s trip to Manchester United, but instead Watford are still in the relegation zone and a point from safety.

However, Pearson said at his pre-match press conference: “I tend to take a slightly different view in that when we are in good positions in games, and when we come out the other side with a positive result I still reflect on moments when we had good fortune as well.

“I’m not somebody who overly looks at our situation when we have given away points with late goals. I’m realistic.

“The one that was very frustrating was the Everton one. The Villa situation was very lucky and the Brighton own-goal is something that happens.

“I’m not going to get myself in a situation where the mindset changes about how I see in general what the players have brought to the field. I know we get honest performances.”

Pearson can take an almost fully-fit squad to Old Trafford after Kiko Femenia and Ismaila Sarr returned to training.

Femenia has been out since New Year’s Day with a hamstring injury and Sarr has been sidelined for a month.

Daryl Janmaat is therefore the only absentee but he too is closing in on a return after a knee injury.

“We’ve had a very positive week,” added Pearson. “Sarr and Kiko are back in full training which is good, but I suppose before the final selection for the weekend the conversation will be about managing risk because I want them back to stay back.

“I always have to detach myself somewhat from ‘let’s get the player straight back in’. It’s about making decisions that protect us over the longer term.”