First Team 17/01/2020

Chalobah: “Pearson Has Got Everyone Working Together”

Nathaniel Chalobah believes the team's recent upturn in form can be attributed to a morale boost and attitude change brought in by Nigel Pearson and his one-to-one approach.

“He’s come in first of all and changed the mood of the place,” said the midfielder. “He’s got everyone working together and individually he’s put his arm around certain players whose confidence might have been low or who might not have believed in themselves.

“He’s managed to be in control of that and switch the focus and responsibility on himself almost. I think that takes a lot of pressure off the players when a manager does that because his first thought is ‘I take the blame if anything happens and I want you to go out there and enjoy yourself first and do what you’re in the team for’.

“With that mentality we’ve just been going out there and trying to enjoy ourselves. We know we have a lot of work to do and we are still at a time in the season where we’ve had good results now but we know where we were two months ago. We just have to keep going with it really.”

Chalobah has been one of the main beneficiaries since Pearson's arrival, having featured in the last six games, starting four. However, he emphasised the focus is firmly on the team's performance and not on individuals. 

“It’s been good, I’ve not tried to look too deeply into my personal performances,” he said. “When you’re at the bottom of the table and in a relegation battle, I think the team always has to come first and needs to come before yourself. Whether I’ve had good performances or bad performances, if you get the results, it’s something you forget about quite quickly.

“As a group of players we have now gelled together very well I think. Everyone’s realised we are in a situation. What’s more important is the team and now we are driving the best out of each other and everyone’s on the same page. In that sense, it’s beneficial for us as a group but also for the supporters, staff and everyone involved in this journey.”

The reverse fixture against Spurs played in October ended in disappointment, with the Golden Boys conceding an unfortunate late Dele Alli equaliser after a penalty appeal was turned down earlier in the game. The Hornets worked hard that day, and Chalobah says they will do so again.

“For me personally I’d like to win, and I’m sure that’s the same for everyone in the changing room,” he said. “In the manner that we drew the game last time, we’ll try our best to avoid that sort of feeling again when we walked back into the dressing room, because we had a lot of things going against us and we worked really hard that day.

“The working hard part of it is something we are going to have to replicate again. It’s going to be a tough game and we know that, but there are no easy games in the Premier League. Whether it’s a top six side or a bottom six side, it doesn’t really matter, we still have to go in there and try to get the three points.”

First Team 17/01/2020

Match Pack: Watford v Tottenham Hotspur

As the Hornets prepare to host Tottenham Hotspur at Vicarage Road in the Premier League, here is everything you need to know about the fixture...


INFO

Watford v Tottenham Hotspur
Premier League
Vicarage Road
Saturday January 18, 12.30pm GMT

OFFICIALS

Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistants: Simon Bennett, Stuart Burt
Fourth Official: Tim Robinson
VAR: Kevin Friend
Assistant VAR: Stephen Child


TEAM NEWS

The Hornets have new signing Ignacio Pussetto available and in contention to play according to Nigel Pearson, while Christian Kabasele is also available for selection after suspension. Will Hughes, Kiko Femenía and Danny Welbeck have returned to training but this weekend may come too early for their return. Tom Cleverley (Achilles), Sebasitan Prödl (knee) and Daryl Janmaat (knee) remain unavailable. Read more here.

Spurs expect new signing Gedson Fernandes to be involved, according to José Mourinho. Ben Davies (ankle) and Tanguy Ndombele (hip) are progressing well with their injury recovery, while Harry Kane (hamstring), Moussa Sissoko (knee) and Hugo Lloris (arm) are further away from returning.


OPPOSITION FORM

Spurs currently sit eighth in the Premier League in what has been a somewhat turbulent season so far. José Mourinho has been in charge of 10 league games since replacing Mauricio Pochettino as manager: he won four of his first five matches but has since suffered three defeats in five. Son Heung-min has been thriving in Harry Kane's absence while Dele Alli has also seen a return to form.


HEAD TO HEAD

Overall:

Won 8, Drawn 10, Lost 31

Last Six:

Oct 2020: Spurs 1-1 Watford (Doucouré) (Premier League)
Jan 2019: Spurs 2-1 Watford (Cathcart) (Premier League)
Sep 2018: Spurs* 2-2 Watford [4-2 on pens] (Success, Capoue) (Carabao Cup)
Sep 2018: Watford 2-1 Spurs (Cathcart, Deeney) (Premier League)
Apr 2018: Spurs 2-0 Watford (Premier League)
Dec 2017: Watford 1-1 Spurs (Kabasele) (Premier League)


GOLDEN FLASHBACK

September 2, 2018 – Watford 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur: The Hornets came from behind in the second half to defeat Spurs at Vicarage Road in 2018. After an unfortunate Abdoulaye Doucouré own-goal shortly after half-time, headed goals from Troy Deeney and Craig Cathcart turned the match on its head to earn the hosts three points and a fourth successive victory to continue a perfect start to the season.


PLAYED FOR BOTH

Andros Townsend

Having joined the Tottenham Hotspur academy at the age of eight, Townsend had loan spells at nine different clubs from 2009-2013 before eventually leaving White Hart Lane on a permanent contract to join Newcastle United and then Crystal Palace. One of these loan spells was at Watford in 2011, although he made just three appearances for the Hornets. The England international appeared 50 times for Spurs, scoring four goals.


WHAT ARE THEY SAYING?

Nigel Pearson on new signing Ignacio Pussetto:

“He [Pussetto] has fitted in very well. He's a very likeable young man. He speaks decent English and I've had a good chat with him. He's settled in very quickly and gives us options in wide areas. We've seen during recent games we've played with a lot of pace and variance in wide areas and he gives us another option there.”

José Mourinho on new signing Gedson Fernandes:

“This weekend they can expect him [Fernandes] to be involved, starting or not, but for sure involved in the team. When you get players in January, it’s normally because you need them, and we need. We lost important players for a long time so we need his contribution. He is a young player, yes, just arrived in a new country, yes, but at the same time has experience of playing for a big club.”