First Team 21/02/2020

Kabasele: “Pearson Gives Me A Lot Of Advice”

By Kevin Affleck

Christian Kabasele says Nigel Pearson is helping him to continue to learn the art of defending, believing the Head Coach has made some technical adjustments to his game and instilled him and the team with more confidence.

The Belgian, 28, has started all one but one game he's been available for under the Head Coach and he has thrived under the responsibility of being first choice. He was particularly impressive in the FA Cup replay at Tranmere, producing a towering performance full of leadership qualities in a very inexperienced side.

There are shades of the no-nonense Pearson in the way he defends and the Head Coach has been keen to pass on the odd bit of advice from his 17-year career as a robust centre-half with Shrewsbury, Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough.

“He gave me a lot of advice because he was a central defender,” said Kabasele to Premier League Productions. “He speaks a lot about body position and body shape because, as everybody knows, I wasn't a defender when I started my career. I still have a few things to learn and he helps me in the process.”

Pearson rode in in the middle of December with a firefighting mission. He quickly doused a few and then lit up Vicarage Road with pyrotechnical wins over Manchester United, Aston Villa and Wolves. Those wins, together with further points against Bournemouth, Tottenham and Brighton, have given the team more than a fighting chance of getting out of the trouble they found themselves in. 

“We were really low in confidence and as soon as he came in, he gave confidence to everyone,” Kabasele said. “That helped us to still be alive at the moment. We were like nine points behind the safety zone. He helped us a lot and gives us the keys to try and survive.”

Pearson hasn't, according to Kabasele, tried to reinvent the wheel.

“It's just simple things, really,” said Kabasele. “He didn't arrive and say, 'Look, I will change everything, I will play this formation or these tactics or give us a lot of information. He just did simple things and that's what we needed. We needed to feel someone was behind us, giving us simple information and simple advice.”

Pearson launched things with that 2-0 win over Manchester United two days before Christmas. 

“It was incredible,” Kabasele said. “At that time the situation was worse, we were last in the table and beating Man United was a great feeling. We know now they will want their revenge and we need to be ready for this kind of game. Apart from against Man City, we always compete well against the top six. We need to be confident, we need to be believe in ourselves even during some bad moments and get the three points.”

Pearson will become only the fourth English manager to complete a Premier League double over Manchester United if the Hornets pull off their first ever league win at Old Trafford on Sunday. Glenn Hoddle, Alan Curbishley and Garry Monk are the others. 

“Man United are well, even if everybody speaks not so good about them,” Kabasele said. “They are still in the race for the Champions League place, still in the Europa League and I think they are in a good way to change their fortunes. They are strong in attack, even if Rashford is not there. Martial is doing well as a No 9 and they have plenty of top players in the team and quality, so we need to be aware of everyone.”

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Our Family: Episode Four

In the latest edition of Our Family, presenters Jon Marks and Emma Saunders are joined in the studio by former Hornets midfielder Derek Payne and Watford FC Ladies captain Helen Ward to discuss the recent action and the impact of Head Coach Nigel Pearson.

Plus there is a look back at the recent Watford FC Community Sports & Education Trust Celebration Evening and we meet Academy Analyst Dan Bedeau, who tells us how epilepsy has not stopped him from being a key member of backroom staff.

Our Family is produced, filmed and edited by students from Bucks New University, broadcast partners of Watford FC.