Quique Sanchez Flores insists Watford’s poor form in the Premier League is solely his responsibility as manager.
While the Hornets can look forward to an FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace later this month following an historic victory at Arsenal, they have won on just two occasions in 12 league matches since the turn of the year.
Watford, who have slipped to 14th in the table, host Everton at Vicarage Road on Saturday off the back of four straight league defeats.
“The responsibility is the coach,” said Flores, the Spaniard managing in English football for the first time this season. “I need to transmit what the focus and target is.
“At the moment the players don’t respond in the way that I like because I am not able to transmit the necessary ambition to play the matches in the Premier League. So, I prefer to assume the responsibility. I have to support these players.
“We have a couple of distractions. The first one is that we got 37 points a long time ago. We have the feeling that everything is done in the league, but this is not a good thought because we need to compete and we need to add more points.
“And the other distraction is the FA Cup. In the club, we talk a lot about the FA Cup. It is our fault, we need to change the mentality and we have told the players that. We need to recuperate the focus as quickly as possible.”
Watford are just one win away from the magical 40-point mark which will all but secure their status in the top flight for second successive campaign.
But Flores, who has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the visit of Everton, believes his side should be targeting more than just safety in the final seven matches of the Premier League.
He added: “We have the responsibility to be ambitious, it is not about the points. Thirty-seven points could be enough, or it could be not enough.
“We haven’t lost the level on the training ground, they are training well, so, I don’t know what happened in the last matches against Stoke and Arsenal where we lost the focus. I promise the fans that they are going to fight, and the players are focused on the task.”
Watford’s biggest problem in the second half of the season has been the lack of goals. Only bottom-of-the-table Aston Villa (22) have scored fewer times than their haul of 30.
Odion Ighalo scored 13 goals before the New Year, but has just one strike to his name in 2016, while Troy Deeney has netted just two times this year.
Flores added: “In this moment I am not going to put pressure on Ighalo and Deeney. The responsibility is on the second line.
“We have players in midfield, on the wing, second strikers, who need to add goals to the squad. They know that perfectly and they know for me at the moment that it is not enough.”