Hodgson issues player challenge after naming player Watford ‘needed’ to stifle Man Utd

Roy Hodgson.Ray Lewington Watford 2022 TEAMtalk1

Watford boss Roy Hodgson heaped praise on goalkeeper Ben Foster after Watford blanked Manchester United to earn a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.

The Hornets were huge underdogs heading into the match after losing 10 of their past 13 top-flight games. But they managed to keep out United’s star-studded forwards to earn a vital point in the battle with relegation. The result means the Vicarage Road outfit sit 19th in the Premier League table.

They are four points from safety and face an uphill task to avoid the drop. Hodgson was delighted with the result and reserved special praise for his keeper.

“It’s always going to be hard-fought draw here,” he told BBC Sport. “We have a real top-class goalkeeper, certainly Premiership class and possibly above that.

“If you going to play up here, as we did today with the team we had to put out, you are going to need Ben Foster because there is no way we can be good enough to restrict them to not even one chance in the game.”

And the veteran tactician revealed that his charges’ reaction after the match proved they are far from throwing in the towel.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Ben Foster Man Utd v Watford February 2022

“The boys did as much as we could ask of them today. I’m really proud of their performance and they should be proud of their performance,” he added.

“I expected to go into the dressing room to see people leaping about with glee, but I didn’t see that. They obviously have very high expectations of themselves.”

Hodgson challenges his troops

Hodgson replaced Claudio Ranieri as manager in late January. He oversaw his first league win at the club when they beat Aston Villa 1-0 on February 19.

And, with another point safety in the bag, the former England chief has issues a challenge to his squad.

He continued: “Can we stay that steadfast in defence? Can we get the work out of our three front players which we had today?

“They were fantastic. Can those three midfield players cover as much ground?

“Already we have the best stats in the past three or four games than we have probably had all season for running. We have to keep that going.

“There is no easier way, but there will be plenty more of these games to come.

Ben Foster Watford 2022 TEAMtalk1

“The thing that is most pleasing today is that we did get a good draw up here and we got it by working hard and playing quite well.”

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