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21st Jul 2020

“No-one was fighting, no-one was punched…this one surprised me”

Troy Deeney admitted he was surprised to see Nigel Pearson sacked as Watford manager with just two games of the season remaining

Reuben Pinder

“No-one was fighting, there were no hands thrown.”

Troy Deeney has said he was “surprised” to see Nigel Pearson sacked as Watford manager at the weekend. And this is coming from a player who has played under 13 managers in 10 years at the club.

“You get to a point in football where you are not surprised any more, but I would say this one surprised me and took me back a bit,” the striker told beIN Sports.

Watford sacked Pearson on Sunday after relations between the manager and the board reached boiling point, with disagreements over tactics and sub-par performances – most notably against West Ham – the main source of tension.

There were reports of a fight in the Watford dressing room following their loss to West Ham at the London Stadium on Friday night, but captain Deeney has denied anything of the sort.

“The gaffer didn’t put his hands on anybody, he was just frustrated and had a firm talking to us,” Deeney said.

“No-one was fighting, no-one was punched. There were no hands thrown.”

Deeney also took the opportunity to deny rumours that he would be given a quasi-player-coach role and have input on tactics alongside interim boss Hayden Mullins.

“Troy will not be picking teams because I have read that as well,” Deeney said. “I am player-coach apparently.

“Anything else I have missed out? We have to respect the decision and give all the support you can to good people in Hayden and Stacky.”

Watford, in 17th and Aston Villa, in 16th both have two matches left to play in the Premier League season. Watford are three points ahead of Villa and have a better goal difference by a margin of four goals.

The Hornets’ face very tough challenges in their final two matches, against Manchester City and Arsenal. Meanwhile Dean Smith’s side face Arsenal and then West Ham.

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