Hodgson admits Watford ‘much worse’ than he thought; pins hope on returning star

Roy Hodgson.Ray Lewington Watford 2022 TEAMtalk1

Roy Hodgson admitted Watford were poor in their 2-0 defeat to Brighton and felt their first-half display was way below the expected level.

The 74-year-old was brought to Vicarage Road to try and stop the bleeding after a disastrous run of results under Claudio Ranieri. The Hornets had not won a Premier League match since beating Manchester United 4-1 on November 20. And that remains the case, with the former England boss now having taken charge of three games for the Hertfordshire outfit.

They did manage to pick up a point in a goalless draw with Burnley. But Saturday’s reverse at home to the Seagulls leaves the club deep in relegation trouble.

They have taken just 15 points from 23 games and are three points from safety. Watford have failed to score in any of the games with Hodgson in the dugout.

And the veteran coach confessed that his charges were way off the mark.

“My thoughts are that we weren’t good enough to win it,” he told BBC Sport. “I thought our first-half performance was much worse than I was expecting it to be. Having analysed the last two games, we’ve seen the players in training, we had high hopes.

Brighton manager Graham Potter

“But certainly in the first half, we did a lot to dash those hopes ourselves.”

The hosts did rally after the break but goals from Neal Maupay and Adam Webster proved enough. And Hodgson felt his men played to a level he felt they were capable of during the second 45 minutes.

“I thought the second half, we did start more brightly. I thought we did show a bit more confidence and play the sort of football that I’ve been expecting to see the team play,” he added.

Hodgson talks up AFCON winner

Ismaila Sarr has been away on international duty with Senegal for the past month. And he returned to England having been part of the winning side at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The 23-year-old has had little time to rest and was on the bench for the first half of the contest. Hodgson brought him on after the break and he looked lively – something the boss hopes will continue.

Watford forward Ismaila Sarr battling Wolves winger Adama Traore 2021

“He’s a player that we are hoping, going forward, will give us something a bit extra,” he continued. “But it was a big ask for him today, having come back from Africa and the celebrations from Senegal winning the cup, sort of asked more of him that he was able to give us today.”

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