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Watford 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers: Abdoulaye Doucoure 'so happy' after Hornets' win

Gerard Deulofeu
Gerard Deulofeu hadn't scored until 2 November but now has four goals making him Watford's joint top goalscorer

Abdoulaye Doucoure says he is "so happy" to have Nigel Pearson in charge and believes Watford will survive relegation after their revival continued with victory over Wolves.

Goals from Gerard Deulofeu and Doucoure gave Watford a 2-0 lead before Pedro Neto reduced the deficit.

They hung on for a third win in five matches under Pearson after being reduced to 10 men for the final 19 minutes through Christian Kabasele's red card.

Victory lifted Watford to a point from Premier League safety with Pearson's 10-point haul eclipsing the combined total of his predecessors Javi Gracia and Quique Sanchez Flores this season.

"We are so happy to have Nigel Pearson come in," Doucoure told BT Sport after scoring on his 27th birthday.

"Everyone is pushing together, we are so proud of how we played.

"We deserved to win, we have had a fantastic week and we want to carry on and get out of the relegation zone."

Asked if Watford would survive, he added: "Yes, of course. Not a lot of people believe in us but we will fight to stay in the Premier League, and we will do it."

Wolves, who had only lost twice in their previous 15 league games, pressed for an equaliser as Ben Foster saved Matt Doherty's header and Ruben Neves fired over in stoppage time.

However, Pearson's team showed grit and determination to move one point behind 18th-placed Bournemouth and stay two from safety.

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Watford 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers: Watford showed different way of winning - Pearson

Pearson leading Watford in right direction

When Pearson took over at Watford, his team looked doomed with nine points from 16 games and a six-point gap to safety.

Now with three wins and a draw from their past five matches, it looks as though the Watford boss might be able to recreate a second great escape after he led Leicester City to survival at the end of the 2014-15 season.

The Hornets are now far more positive in their play, helped by returning striker Troy Deeney, who has scored three goals in his past four games.

And they look more solid in defence, shown in the latter stages of this game where they had to deal with Kabasele's dismissal for hauling down substitute Diogo Jota, which was deemed a yellow-card offence by referee Andrew Madley before it was upgraded to a red by the video assistant referee.

Against Wolves, who remain seventh in the table, Deulofeu and Ismaila Sarr were outstanding as they continually caused the visitors problems.

Deulofeu did not score his first goal this season until 2 November against Chelsea, but he is now Watford's joint top scorer, finding the bottom corner with a composed finish for his fourth of the campaign.

The Spanish winger also set up Doucoure, whose shot took a deflection off Conor Coady and sailed into the top corner.

There was a collective desire and will to earn the win after the second half began to unravel, which will give Watford hope that they can remain in the top flight for a sixth season.

Substitute Diogo Jota was tugged back by Christian Kabasele
Substitute Diogo Jota was tugged back by Christian Kabasele as Wolves searched for an equaliser

Tired Wolves struggle to take advantage

No Premier League team has played more than the 35 games Wolves have competed in this season, and at times during this encounter it showed.

Even though Nuno Espirito Santo brought in four players who were rested from Sunday's trip to Anfield, including Adama Traore and top scorer Raul Jimenez, they did not overly trouble the hosts until the hour mark.

Perhaps they were not worried by going behind given that they had previously conceded the first goal in 13 league games this season but had only lost four of those.

However, they paid for missing a good early chance with Doherty thwarted by the impressive Ben Foster after he latched onto Coady's astute pass.

Once Doucoure made it 2-0, their task seemed insurmountable, yet the deflected strike by Neto, who was a continuous outlet for them down the left, and the red card gave the visitors an unexpected fillip.

Given Wolves' success this season, an equaliser looked likely as they piled on the pressure.

But this is a new Watford side whose only defeat since Pearson took over was at Anfield.

And the Hornets showed their jubilant fans the type of resilience that had become lost under previous managers Gracia and Sanchez Flores.

Man of the match - Gerard Deulofeu

Gerard Deulofeu
Deulofeu scored his fourth of the season and set up Abdoulaye Doucoure for Watford's second. He was their main attacking outlet before he was substituted after Christian Kabasele's red card

Manager reaction - 'We put our bodies on the line'

Watford boss Nigel Pearson told BBC Match of the Day: "We displayed a different kind of win today. We had to show a lot of commitment to dig in. It was a tough second half, going down to 10 men, Wolves are a decent side and had a lot of possession. But we were prepared to put our bodies on the line.

"What I've seen today is a group of players with incredible unity, they have an appetite to work hard to get out of the situation we are in."

On Christian Kabasele's red card: "The players feel it was harsh, based on the type of contact and the position of team-mates, so we will have to look at it. I've not seen it yet. The important thing was to try and keep calm, we had to make changes and I felt the players dealt with it exceptionally well."

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo: "The performance was not the best. We started slow and allowed Watford into the game. They had a couple of chances but no more than that. But we only reacted after the second goal.

"We didn't create enough to really get the draw and get what we wanted. We have a team with character but we didn't have that today. Let's work on it and try and improve for the next one.

"We should improve, it makes a lot of difference when you take your chances as you can manage the game, especially when you have such a tight schedule."

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Watford 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers: Wolves should have taken chances - Nuno

Pearson's home run - the best stats

  • Watford have won back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since February 2019.
  • Gerard Deulofeu has scored three goals in all competitions against Wolves for Watford - he's only scored more against Cardiff City for the Hornets (four).
  • Watford manager Nigel Pearson has won his past six home Premier League games, winning three with Leicester in May 2015 and his first three with Watford.
  • Wolves have lost three of their past five Premier League games (W2), as many as they'd lost in their previous 21 games combined.
  • Wolves winger Adama Traore completed 15 dribbles in this match, the most by a player in a league match in the top five European leagues since Karim Bellarabi completed 17 in a Bundesliga fixture for Bayer Leverkusen against Werder Bremen in February 2015.
  • Wolves' Pedro Neto became the first teenager to score for the club in the Premier League (19y 298d).
  • Joao Moutinho registered his 14th Premier League assist for Wolves, overtaking Matt Jarvis as the record assist holder for the club in the competition.

What next?

Watford host League One Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup third round on Saturday (kick-off 15:01 GMT), Wolves host Manchester United in the same competition (kick-off 17:31 GMT), having beaten them in the quarter-finals last season.

Line-ups

Watford

  • 26FosterBooked at 90mins
  • 4DawsonBooked at 21mins
  • 27KabaseleBooked at 71mins
  • 15Cathcart
  • 21FemeníaSubstituted forHolebasat 60'minutes
  • 14Chalobah
  • 29Capoue
  • 23SarrSubstituted forPereyraat 90+2'minutes
  • 16Doucouré
  • 7DeulofeuSubstituted forMasinaat 73'minutes
  • 9DeeneyBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 1Gomes
  • 11Masina
  • 18Gray
  • 20Quina
  • 22Success
  • 25Holebas
  • 37Pereyra

Wolves

  • 11Rui Patrício
  • 5BennettSubstituted forNevesat 54'minutes
  • 16Coady
  • 27Saïss
  • 2Doherty
  • 32Dendoncker
  • 28João Moutinho
  • 19Castro OttoSubstituted forVinagreat 54'minutes
  • 37Traoré
  • 9Jiménez
  • 7NetoBooked at 26minsSubstituted forJotaat 66'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Neves
  • 10Cutrone
  • 18Jota
  • 21Ruddy
  • 29Vinagre
  • 49Kilman
  • 54Otasowie
Referee:
Andy Madley
Attendance:
20,584

Match Stats

Home TeamWatfordAway TeamWolves
Possession
Home36%
Away64%
Shots
Home9
Away16
Shots on Target
Home3
Away4
Corners
Home4
Away7
Fouls
Home12
Away6

Live Text

Match ends, Watford 2, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Watford 2, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1.

Attempt missed. Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Booking

Ben Foster (Watford) is shown the yellow card.

Adama Traoré (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford).

Booking

Troy Deeney (Watford) is shown the yellow card.

Rúben Vinagre (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Romain Saïss.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Roberto Pereyra replaces Ismaila Sarr.

Foul by João Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Romain Saïss.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Conor Coady.

Foul by Raúl Jiménez (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Ben Foster (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Craig Dawson.

Attempt missed. Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Adama Traoré with a cross.

Foul by Adama Traoré (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Etienne Capoue (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Rúben Vinagre (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Diogo Jota.

Attempt missed. Etienne Capoue (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a corner.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Conor Coady.

Romain Saïss (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).

Attempt blocked. Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by João Moutinho.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Adam Masina.

Attempt saved. Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Rúben Vinagre with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Adam Masina replaces Gerard Deulofeu.

Attempt blocked. João Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Dismissal

Christian Kabasele (Watford) is shown the red card.

VAR Decision: Card upgraded Christian Kabasele (Watford).

Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Christian Kabasele (Watford).

Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Craig Dawson (Watford).

Substitution

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Diogo Jota replaces Pedro Neto.

Foul by Adama Traoré (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Etienne Capoue (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Liverpool19181047143355
2Leicester21143446192745
3Man City21142556243244
4Chelsea2111373629736
5Man Utd218763225731
6Tottenham218673630630
7Wolves217953027330
8Sheff Utd207852319429
9Crystal Palace217771923-428
10Arsenal216962830-227
11Everton2174102432-825
12Southampton2174102538-1325
13Newcastle2174102033-1325
14Brighton216692529-424
15Burnley2173112434-1024
16West Ham2064102532-722
17Aston Villa2163122737-1021
18Bournemouth2155112032-1220
19Watford2147101734-1719
20Norwich2135132241-1914
View full Premier League table

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