First Team 07/02/2020

Kabasele: “We Need To Be Committed”

By Kevin Affleck

Christian Kabasele said the team are keen to pay back the fans for their unwavering support with a big performance at Brighton.

Nearly 3,000 Hornets will pack the away end at the Amex Stadium on Saturday night and the all-action defender wants to help produce one of those special team performances that creates one of those classic away days.

“The support is always great,” said the Belgian. “The fans are still behind us even if during some moments we don't deserve this support. We need to show them we are really grateful and really involved in this fight and send them home with the three points.”

The battle on the south coast should be right up Kabasele's street and the team are going to need players like him to stand up and be counted in a match that could have a real bearing on the picture at the bottom of the table.

“It's a big game, like previous weeks,” he said. “Every game is a final but especially this one because if we can win, we have the same points as them so we need to win. It will be a big battle, like it was at Norwich, like at Southampton, like at Aston Villa. They are always really tight games won on details, but first of all we need to be committed.”

The encounter could pitch Kabasele against Leandro Trossard, his countryman and former Genk teammate who joined the Seagulls in the summer. 

“I played with him a little bit at Genk and he's a top talent,” said Kabasele. “He's a really good player and he's an international now as well. We need to be careful with him.”

First Team 07/02/2020

Pearson: “We’ve Got Ourselves Back In Contact”

Nigel Pearson feels the 14 points picked up in his first nine games in charge have pulled the Hornets back into contention for Premier League survival, but knows recent setbacks must be overcome quickly as there is still a distance left to run.

“We’ve made some progress, which is encouraging, but likewise we’ve had a couple of setbacks which is something you need to be able to deal with,” said the Head Coach.

“Even with recent setbacks, we’ve got ourselves back in contact and that is very important for us. We can afford to be slightly more optimistic. I think where we were to where we are now is a bit more encouraging, but the realism of being involved in a relegation battle means you have to get over setbacks pretty quickly.

“One thing remains absolutely constant and that is that, with the players we have, I still have a very strong belief that we can make further progress, because they’ve applied themselves very well.”

The first chance to recover from recent setbacks – namely late defeats against Aston Villa and Everton – comes this Saturday in the late kick-off against Brighton.

“It’s a very important game, because there are a number of teams involved in the relegation battle,” said Pearson.

“We’re certainly one of them and I think it’s important that we put as much pressure as possible on other teams around us. We do that by getting our own results right and it’s really quite simple in that regard.

“When we played before Villa, I said it’s a game both sides would love to win but you don’t really want to lose, and that would be a very similar summary of how I see this game.”

Graham Potter’s side are winless in 2020 and have picked up just three points since the turn of the year, but Pearson knows the Hornets must be careful after receiving a nasty shock at Vicarage Road back in August.

“We need to make sure our players are able to play as well as they’re able to play and, if we do that, we have a good chance of coming away with three points,” he said.

“But we have a healthy respect for Brighton because first game of the season they beat us 3-0, so we’re aware they have qualities.

“Their result last week to come back into the game from 3-1 down to get a draw [against West Ham] shows they’ve got ability as well, so we’ve got to do it right.”