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Watford's Troy Deeney

English Premiership

Deeney denies talk of dressing room fight during Watford defeat

LONDON, United Kingdom, Jul 20Watford captain Troy Deeney has slammed reports there was a fight during half-time of Nigel Pearson’s final match in charge of the Premier League strugglers.

Pearson was surprisingly sacked on Sunday with just two games left in Watford’s battle to avoid relegation.

Hayden Mullins has been appointed interim boss, with the Hornets three points above the relegation zone.

Amid claims that Pearson’s demise was hastened by a heated row during Friday’s 3-1 loss at relegation rivals West Ham, Deeney told beIN Sports: “I just want to put it out there, there was no fight at half-time.

“It is 2020, you don’t do that any more and certainly with all the cameras you would see a lot more if that was the case.

“The gaffer didn’t put his hands on anybody. He was just frustrated and had a firm talking to us. No-one was fighting, no-one was punched and no-one was tickled. There were no hands thrown.

“Second of all Troy will not be picking teams because I have read that online as well. I am player-coach apparently. Anything else I have missed out? We wasn’t locked in so a lot of interesting things.”

Deeney admitted he was surprised by the decision to sack Pearson, who was Watford’s third permanent manager of the campaign after Javi Gracia and Quique Sanchez Flores.

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The 56-year-old guided the Hornets to notable triumphs over Manchester United and Liverpool, but will not finish the job he started in December.

– ‘Up and down week’ –

“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,” Deeney added.

“I wasn’t anticipating that was going to be the situation we’d walk into on Sunday. We had an up and down week before.

“We won two games (against Norwich and Newcastle) and you’d like to think we would have got a better result against West Ham, but that wasn’t to be and the club made a decision.”

Mullins was also in charge against Leicester and Crystal Palace in December before Pearson arrived.

Now he is focused on securing Watford’s survival.

“One of the things we have had to deal with in the last couple of days is the manager leaving. However that has come about is something we can’t let dissuade us from our focus. Our focus are the last two games,” he told reporters on Monday.

“We know the manager was a big part of it, but the club have made a decision and us, the players and staff have to be professional enough to focus on the next two games.”

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Earlier, Pearson had expressed his regret at not being able to finish the job he started at Watford.

In a post on his official Twitter account on Monday, Pearson said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the well wishes I’ve received from Watford supporters and the football community. Thank you all for your kind messages.

“Although not able to finish the task I was brought in to achieve, I wish Watford all the best for their final two games. Cheers, Nige.”

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