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Nigel Pearson hails Watford players for adapting to empty grounds

Nigel Pearson hails Watford players for adapting to empty grounds
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The Hornets secured their first win since the Premier League restart when they defeated basement club Norwich in midweek.

Nigel Pearson had praised his Watford players for learning to deal with performing in front of empty stadiums.

The Hornets beat bottom club Norwich 2-1 earlier in the week to give themselves a much-needed shot in the arm in their own battle against Premier League relegation.

The victory was Watford's first since the season restarted and was enough to see them sit three points clear of the bottom three heading into Saturday's visit of Newcastle.

Pearson will be keen to continue amassing points as he aims to keep the club in the top flight, having taken over in December with Watford propping up the table.

And the 56-year-old saluted the way his players have now adapted to a lack of support rolling down from the stands.

"I suppose the only analogy I could give you would be actors who enjoy acting live on stage, compared to the sterile environment of working on a TV sitcom in front of a camera but nobody is there," he told the Evening Standard.

"Our players aren't used to not performing in front of the fans and the emotional attachment and the noise, cheers and boos and everything else.

"We are asking people to work in a way which is very alien to us, but still give the levels of performances that everybody expects. It is very easy to sit there and be critical, but I also understand the difficulties.

"I think the players have embraced the challenge very positively and will all continue to work together to achieve what we are setting out to do. It won't be easy, but that's the plan. Crack on with it."

Captain Troy Deeney will no doubt play an important role in Watford's survival bid – but the forward has not scored in his last six appearances.

It was team-mate Danny Welbeck who scored a sensational overhead kick to seal the comeback win over Norwich on Tuesday, his first Premier League goal for the club since a summer move from Arsenal.

"I'm very pleased for Danny because he's been very patient," Pearson said of the England international, whose first season at the club has been curtailed by injury.

"He's working really hard to get back and, now he's back, it is an opportunity for him to secure a run in the side – if he plays well, he's got a great chance of doing that.

"We know we've got individuals who are capable of bringing something a little bit different, and that is very important."

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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CLiverpool38323385335299
2Manchester CityMan City382639102356781
3Manchester UnitedMan Utd381812866363066
4Chelsea382061269541566
5Leicester CityLeicester381881267412662
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs3816111161471459
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves381514951401159
8Arsenal381414105648856
9Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd381412123939054
10Burnley38159144350-754
11Southampton38157165160-952
12Everton381310154456-1249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381111163858-2044
14Crystal Palace381110173150-1943
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914153954-1541
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham38109194962-1339
17Aston Villa3898214167-2635
RBournemouth3897224065-2534
RWatford38810203664-2834
RNorwich CityNorwich3856272675-4921

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