Hodgson: I won’t knock on owner’s door for signings

Watford manager Roy Hodgson told Sky Sports News he is happy to work with the players he currently has at his disposal when he was quizzed on his plans for the remainder of the transfer window.

Hodgson replaced Claudio Ranieri, who was sacked on Monday after three-and-a-half months in charge, with Watford 19th in the table, two points from safety.

The Englishman has been out of work since leaving Crystal Palace at the end of last season.

„I haven’t seen all the players yet to be frank – there are players injured and players away in the Africa Cup of Nations so I couldn’t even say,“ Hodgson said.

„On paper, the squad is a very big one, they have a lot of merits otherwise they would not be representing their countries as they are at the moment, so it is far too early to say.

„But that isn’t my major goal anyway. I have five months. My goal is to help the club stay in the league and basically I am more than happy to do that with the players that are here already.

„And if the owner decides he wants to present somebody else, of course we will look into it, but there will be no knocking on his door from my point of view, saying we should do this and that, because it’s far, far too early.

„As everybody knows there are a lot of talented players at the club. There has been a recruitment spin from South America, through Europe and through Africa and some very good footballers have been brought to the club, but to win matches you don’t just need talented footballers you need to get the team working and the feeling if you like between the players and the knowledge of their roles, and what is required of them.

Paul Merson and Darren Bent agree that Roy Hodgson is the right man to take Watford forward to give them the best chance of Premier League survival.

„That is always something that needs to be worked on but I have got no doubt that if we can make an indentation into that the players have the physical ability and the technical ability and the skills required.“

Hodgson becomes the Pozzo family’s 15th permanent manager since they completed their takeover of Watford in June 2012.

On his first few days back at Watford, Hodgson added: „It’s been very good, it’s nice to be back, the lure of the pitch is always a hard one to turn away from, but I’ve enjoyed the opening days, it’s been good.“

Hodgson succeeds Ranieri, who had failed to turn around the team’s fortunes since being appointed in October. The Hornets dropped into the Premier League relegation zone for the first time this season after last Friday’s 3-0 home defeat to fellow strugglers Norwich.

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Norwich out of bottom three with Watford win

Asked what he has said to the players so far, Hodgson said: „Not very much, I think what needs to be said to them needs to be in the training sessions, there has been no Churchillian speeches or meetings with big thoughts about what’s needed if you like other than the obvious one that we are in a difficult position, the club needs to get enough points to stay in the league.

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„No-one wants to go out of the league, we don’t want to, the coaches don’t want to, the owners don’t want to but the players don’t want to either. We are in the best league in the world – that’s where we want to stay, and we know the only way to do that is to play well and win matches so let’s go to work on how we are going to do that and become a better team.“

Why have Watford gone for Hodgson?

Sky Sports News reporter Gary Cotterill:

„Roy Hodgson is a safe pair of hands and has all the experience in the world. This will be his 22nd job in a 46-year career. He worked miracles at Crystal Palace back in 2017.

„When he arrived, they were 0-0-7 – they’d lost their licence to thrill! It was seven defeats from seven games, but in the end they managed to finish 11th in the Premier League and he did a similar job at Fulham.

No wins, no clean sheets, no discipline – Watford struggles

Watford are without a win in nine games in all competitions (D1 L8), their longest run without a victory since December 2013 (10).

Norwich enjoyed their biggest margin of victory in a Premier League match since beating West Brom 4-0 in May 2013, and their biggest away from home in the division since September 1993, a 5-1 win at Everton.

Watford have now gone 30 Premier League games without a clean sheet (since a 3-0 win v Liverpool in February 2020), with only West Brom enduring a longer such run in the history of the competition (34 in 2011; Blackburn in 2012 and Wolves in 2012 both also on 30).

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Since the start of 2016-17, only Arsenal (19) have picked up more Premier League red cards than Watford (18).

„He’s a very experienced manager having also been at Inter Milan, Liverpool and England of course. He’s clearly still got a hunger to show he can operate at the top level even at his age.

„He left Palace through his own decision, but as he told Sky Sports News last week, he still has a hunger and believes he can turn things around. Maybe he caught the ear of the Watford owner off the back of what he told Sky last week!

„He’s already been down to the training ground, having signed some paperwork on Monday.“

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