Roy Hodgson has encouraged everyone involved with Watford to “keep faith”, insisting they are not at a point where every game is a ‘must-win’ if they are to survive in the Premier League.
The Hornets travel to Wolves on Thursday night on the back of a 3-2 home loss to Arsenal which leaves them 19th in the table with 11 games remaining.
Everton’s thrashing at the hands of Tottenham leaves them the target for the clubs currently occupying the relegation places, with Watford three points adrift despite playing two more matches than the Toffees.
Despite their top-flight status looking increasingly perilous, Hodgson has stressed to his players that they are not yet in a situation where they must win all of their remaining fixtures to stay up.
“I mean, what is a must-win? That’s the bottom line, you never know,” he said.
“The simple answer to the question is when there is not enough games and points left for you to get yourself out of the relegation zone.
“That’s the simple answer. We certainly aren’t there yet and I think it is important to keep faith.”
Hodgson returned to management earlier this year at the age of 74, tasked with turning the tide at Vicarage Road to keep them in the Premier League.
He achieved a similar feat at Fulham in 2008 and knows that maintaining belief plays a key part in a survival bid.
“I must say remembering back to those Fulham days, where things looked really, really bleak for us with four games to go, I thought the crowd and the club were very, very good in what they call, ‘keeping the faith’,” he said.
“To be honest, I don’t know what faith we had given them but they decided whatever it was they were going to keep it and, as a result, their faith I suppose and their help did pull us through.”
Having been appointed in January, the former England boss has yet to have the desired effect, winning only one of his seven Premier League games at the helm to date.
But he admits he has been pleasantly surprised by the adaptation of the Watford players to the ideas and plans of his and his long-serving assistant Ray Lewington.
“I think we got more than we expected,” he added.
“The way the players have worked very hard to try and buy into some of the thoughts that we have and things that are going to be needed if we are going to go forward and give ourselves a chance of survival.
“I’ve been really quite surprised at how hard they have worked at that and how quickly they have grasped it.
“We have got literally no complaints at all, the big problem of course is getting into the situation where you turn a good performance into three points.
“You know you need performances to get points but you are still really hoping for that wonderful day where the performance is perhaps lacking but the result is still there.”
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