Bristol City boss’ candid advice to Watford ahead of Vicarage Road return

Nigel Pearson returns to Vicarage Road for the first time after being sacked - and he has some honest words of advice to Watford.
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Bristol City boss Nigel Pearson has advised Watford that they could do with a ‘spell of continuity’ after going through three managers this season.

The Hornets are on to their third manager of the campaign after starting with Rob Edwards, and finishing it with Chris Wilder after they sacked Slaven Bilic last month. Watford are six points off of the play-offs and it looks unlikely they will be involved in the promotion picture.

Pearson returns to Vicarage Road for the first time since he was sacked in July 2019. The 59-year-old was there for seven months but was controversially sacked with just two games remaining despite them being out the relegation zone.

Watford were relegated after losing both matches and since then they have had seven managers. Xisco Munoz led them to the Premier League but was sacked and then both he and Claudio Ranieri were sacked for Roy Hodgson but none of the three could keep them up.

Rob Edwards, now manager of Luton began the season but was sacked just one month in to the season and then Bilic was sacked last month with them four points off the playoffs. Pearson, who was shocked at his dismissal is well positioned to pass judgement on the current model at the Hertfordshire club.

“Having worked there I know what it is like to manage the club,” admitted Pearson about their scatter-gun approach.

“It’s a really good club in lots of ways. I think if you try and look at it from a players perspective. Everybody knows it’s likely that players will last longer than the manager.

“I don’t know the actual impact of that but my feeling about it is that it doesn’t lend itself to building success. It lends itself to change and change can sometimes be good and sometimes have a detrimental effect.”

During Gino Pozzo’s reign at Watford, the club have gone through 16 managers in total. He had appointed Quique Sanchez Flores twice and in some part their ruthless sacking did work.

Watford stayed in the Premier League for five years and have been there for six out of the last seven but an immediate return to the top flight this season looks unlikely.

The sacking of Rob Edwards saw fans grow frustrated given a section of their supporters wanted him to be afforded time. Edwards had led Forest Green to the League Two title but he was tasked with managing stars like Ismaila Sarr and Joao Pedro who remained despite interest.

Wilder has so far won just one of his six games in charge and suffered an embarrassing home defeat to relegation-threatened Huddersfield Town last Friday. It is expected that the former Sheffield United boss will be replaced at the end of the season with talk of Italian boss Francesco Farioli replacing him.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that they’ve had some successes and some disappointments,” said Pearson. If you look at it with a rational sort of mindset it’s pretty easy to see why they’re a little bit up-and-down and why they have been for a while.

He added: “The counter argument they’ve been in the Premier League, gone back down and come back up. It depends on how you look at it.

“I think the club could do with a spell of continuity of message. It must be quite difficult for players to deal with not the threat of constant change but having to deal with different perspectives on a regular basis.”