Craig Shakespeare hails Watford unity in survival battle

Craig Shakespeare believes Watford’s team ethic is vital as they look to move clear of the Premier League’s relegation zone.

Nigel Pearson took over as boss at Vicarage Road earlier this month and, since his appointment, the Hornets have moved off the foot of the table having taken seven points from their last four matches.

Shakespeare, his assistant, took the pre-match press conference ahead of the home clash with Wolves on New Year’s Day as Pearson dealt with a family matter.

And with fixtures coming thick and fast over the festive period, Shakespeare says the whole squad will need to play a part as 19th-placed Watford aim to close the three-point gap to safety.

Shakespeare said: “The team ethic is vitally important, not just the starting XI but the ones who don’t start because over Christmas they can play a big part.

“The whole club and the culture and the environment that we’re trying to get, and that everyone is buying into, hopefully will stand us in good stead.”

When asked what had changed since Pearson was named as manager, Shakespeare said: “I think priorities at the beginning is the team ethic and the shape, with the ball or without the ball.

“Because of the amount of games you can only do so much on the training field, but you can also do a lot in here.

“We use the videos and we use debriefs in terms of team shape and team ethic but, ultimately, players have to show enthusiasm, have to show a desire to play.

“For me the biggest words you can use for a team are desire, enthusiasm and drive, and if they show that – these players are decent footballers, they’re in the Premier League and they’ve been recruited because they have ability.

“If the other things aren’t with it then it doesn’t matter how good you are. The team ethic has been very, very big.”

Watford’s recent resurgence has coincided with the return of Troy Deeney, who has scored three goals in three games, but Shakespeare insisted there were other players who could act as leaders.

He said: “He’s going to be important for now, and the rest of the season, but we’ve also got some other leaders.

“Of course Troy coming back in – he’s a big payer for us and you can see his effectiveness, but I’m sure that if Troy wasn’t there we’d have to call on someone else and they have their own attributes.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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