London (AFP) – Watford captain Troy Deeney hailed the impact of Nigel Pearson in helping the Hornets bounce back from “rock bottom” after a 3-0 win at Bournemouth took them out of the Premier League relegation zone for the first time this season.
Abdoulaye Doucoure and Roberto Pereyra struck either side of Deeney’s fourth goal in five games as Watford moved above their hosts, whose five-season stay in the top flight looks in serious danger of coming to an end.
“The gaffer and all the boys need to take a lot of credit,” said Deeney. “We hit rock bottom at some points this season but we’ve managed to get the fans involved and do the hard work on the pitch.”
Bournemouth have taken just four points from their last 11 games and looked a side completely devoid of confidence as they slipped to second bottom.
Watford, by contrast, are reborn under former Leicester boss Pearson as they have taken 13 points from a possible 15 since his baptism of fire in a 2-0 defeat at Liverpool last month.
“We’ve found a collective way of working together to get more of what we want; performances and results. We showed resilience, game understanding and ability as well at times,” said Pearson.
Injuries have played a major part in Bournemouth’s decline and the loss of first-choice goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale proved vital as his understudy Mark Travers was at fault for the opening goal.
The Irish under-21 international had made a good early save low to his right to deny Gerard Deulofeu, but his poor clearance was fired straight at Ismaila Sarr three minutes before half-time and the Senegalese’s cross was expertly controlled and finished by Doucoure.
“The first goal was a big shift, up until then it was two quite even teams,” Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe told Sky Sports.
“We conceded and the second half was a lot more difficult; we dipped, they rose with the confidence.
“We are not looking free-scoring and when you concede a goal it seems a long way back.”
Deeney’s return from a long-term injury has also played a big part in his side’s return to form and the inspirational captain smashed home after another dangerous run and cross by Sarr 25 minutes from time.
Bournemouth offered nothing in response and another miserable afternoon for the Cherries was rounded off when Pereyra came off the bench to produce an acrobatic finish after Andre Gray’s shot was cleared off the line.
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