Roy Hodgson insists he ‘couldn’t do any more’ to save Watford from relegation

The Hornets will drop to the Championship next season, an outcome made official by Saturday’s defeat to Crystal Palace.

By Press Association Published: 8 May 2022 - 10.54pm

Roy Hodgson says his conscience is clear despite being unable to keep Watford in the Premier League.

A 1-0 loss at his old club Crystal Palace on Saturday proved the final nail in the Hornets’ coffin and confirmed they would be back in the Sky Bet Championship next season.

Veteran boss Hodgson and trusty assistant Ray Lewington were parachuted in to replace Claudio Ranieri at the end of January after Watford dropped into the bottom three following a 3-0 reverse at home to Norwich.

Crystal Palace v Watford – Premier League – Selhurst Park
Watford were relegated after defeat at home to Crystal Palace (Yui Mok/PA)

The 74-year-old won his fourth match in charge of the Vicarage Road outfit but an overall run of 11 defeats in 15 games has resulted in a second relegation in three seasons.

Hodgson said: “When you take over a team at the bottom of the league you know it’s never going to be easy to move them up the table.

“Of course you understand that but my conscience and Ray’s are 100 per cent clear.

“We have worked to the very best of our ability and the things that we did here which helped Crystal Palace, we have done exactly the same with Watford with the same degree of passion and the same energy and enthusiasm.

“So we can look at ourselves in the mirror and say ‘what could you have done more, where did you go wrong?’ And I don’t honestly think we can answer that other than by saying we couldn’t do any more than we have done.

“Unfortunately our message wasn’t strong enough to get through to the players and turn them around.”

It was confirmed earlier this month that Hodgson would leave Watford at the end of the season, having penned a short-term deal with the club on January 25.

A new manager will be required for the Hornets’ latest promotion push and will be the 17th different person, including caretakers, to have sat in the Vicarage Road hot seat since the Pozzo family took over the club back in the summer of 2012.

Crystal Palace v Watford – Premier League – Selhurst Park
Wilfried Zaha’s goal consigned the Hornets to the Championship next season (Yui Mok/PA)

The regular hiring and firing by the Italian ownership during their decade in charge has brought scrutiny and repeated criticism but the current boss defended the scattergun approach.

“That has been a subject of debate for some time but I went into the club for these few months knowing full well how it operates,” Hodgson added.

“They have been quite successful with their model and have taken the club from mid-table in the Championship into the Premier League on two occasions.

“Now their job will be looking at those two periods and working out ‘what do we need to do to make certain next time we go up that we don’t immediately plunge back down again?’”

Crystal Palace v Watford – Premier League – Selhurst Park
Watford manager Roy Hodgson (right) plans to speak to the club’s owners ahead of the final three games of the season (Yui Mok/PA)

Hodgson, who started his managerial career in 1976 and briefly worked for the Pozzo family at Udinese in 2001, revealed he would speak with Gino Pozzo and sporting director Cristiano Giaretta over how to approach the final three games of the campaign.

He revealed: “The people in charge of the club have got a very clear idea of what they expect from the players, what they need, what needs to be done.

“In these last few games I shall certainly be liaising with the owner and sporting director to see if there are players they need to look at and see in action or would like to see in these last three games.

“So, I will be working on behalf of the club with their views going forward but I won’t be advising unless my advice is sought.”

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