Watford manager Walter Mazzarri has played down the uncertainty surrounding his future by insisting the Hornets are on course to avoid relegation in a harder Premier League than last year.
The 4-1 defeat to Tottenham on New Year’s Day saw Watford slip to 13th in the table, having won only once in seven games.
Dele Alli and Harry Kane each scored twice for Spurs at Vicarage Road before Younes Kaboul added a late consolation, but in the truth the scoreline flattered Watford, who were outplayed from start to finish.
Mazzarri’s cause has not been helped by a number of injuries to key players, not least Camilo Zuniga, who felt pain in his ankle during the warm-up against Tottenham and had to be replaced at the last minute by Odion Ighalo.
Watford also sit eight points clear of the relegation zone but some of the club’s fans greeted their latest loss with boos, having grown frustrated with recent performances.
“From the first day I arrived I spoke with the club and the president,” Mazzarri said.
“When we have spoken about the first objective, which has always been the same, it was to avoid relegation. In this moment if we look at the table we are doing even better than the starting objective.
“We could have been where Crystal Palace are or other teams are but we aren’t. This has always been the first objective and we’re doing okay.”
Watford were ninth with 29 points at this stage last season under Quique Sanchez Flores, who was sacked by the club’s owners in the summer.
Mazzarri’s team are four places worse off with seven points fewer but the Italian insists comparisons with his predecessor are unfair.
“What happened last year, I’m really not interested,” Mazzarri said.
“Last year I know in the first half Watford did very good and then in the second they started to lose some points. If we look at this year we’re still on line with our objective which is to stay in the Premier League.
“Then if we really want to compare the Premier League this year to last it’s much better than it was last season.
“If we look at who won the Premier League last year it was a team that was managed very well by (Claudio) Ranieri but is a team this year fighting not to be relegated.
“That says a lot and we cannot really compare the Premier League this year with the one last year.”