First Team 1 month ago

Foster: “We Have Momentum Now”

Ben Foster thinks the team's upturn in results is testament to a change in mentality driven by Head Coach Nigel Pearson, but insists the job is far from done with plenty of games still to play – starting with Saturday's clash with Tottenham Hotspur at Vicarage Road.

“We're out of the bottom three but we're not thinking like that, we've done nothing yet. We had a very poor start and we've just got ourselves back into contention. The gaffer is not letting anyone rest on their laurels,” said the goalkeeper.

“We knew we had the talent but we lost our grit and will to win. There's a fine line between properly putting work in and just putting work in, and that’s the difference between staying up and going down.

“It’s been a complete 360 degree turnaround, we have momentum now. For example, we probably would have lost the Wolves game earlier in season, but everybody pulled together and we saw the game out.”

The talent in this Hornets squad was never in doubt, with the Golden Boys finishing 11th in the Premier League and reaching an FA Cup final last season, but Foster knows how important having the right frame of mind is at this level too.

“The mental side of the game is half the battle for me, if you are struggling it affects how you perform on the pitch,” he said.

“My wife was a psychologist, which was brilliant for me. You've got to be open and honest. We also had [sports psychologist] Keith Mincher here when I first joined Watford all those years ago [in 2005-07] and I still speak to him now.

“You've got to be comfortable in your own skin and not try to be someone else. Be yourself. Do it naturally on the training pitch and almost autopilot on a matchday in front of 50,000 people. If you start thinking about it too much then you're in trouble.”

There have been lows this season and more recently there have been highs. No doubt there will be more of both, and Foster knows it is important for each member of the team to keep a level head so they can stay in control of their own form.

“I'm having a good time, with my age and experience I understand there will be ups and downs but you've got to try and stay on the even keel. I don't get too carried away personally, I need to help pull people back up if we lose as an experienced player,” said the 36-year-old.

“You learn as you go, you learn from your mistakes and they're all life lessons. You go through peaks and troughs in football. There is an element of making your own luck, by working hard and keeping on pushing yourself, and that's what I do.”

First Team 1 month ago

Team News: Tottenham Hotspur

By Kevin Affleck

Ignacio Pussetto is in contention to play some part against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday after impressing Head Coach Nigel Pearson with his attitude and application during his first few days at the club.

The 24-year-old arrived on Tuesday, signing a four-and-a-half-year deal, and the fact he has already played 14 times for Udinese this season, including nearly half an hour against Sassuolo on Sunday, means Pearson and the medical staff had no qualms about pitching him straight into full training on Wednesday.

He has scrubbed up well in both sessions and the Head Coach said he wouldn't think twice about including him in the 18 for the lunchtime game with José Mourinho's team.

“Probably, yes,” said Pearson when asked if he has considered naming the forward in his match-day squad. “He's fitted in very well. He's a very likeable young man. He speaks decent English and I've had a good chat with him. He's settled in very quickly and gives us options in wide areas. We've seen during recent games we've played with a lot of pace and variance in wide areas and he gives us another option there.”

Pearson last week said the return of some players from injury would feel like new signings, and he has been cheered this week by the return to training of Will Hughes, Kiko Femenía and Danny Welbeck.

“Will has done some training,” said Pearson. “He has been with us today, just modified, so won't be in contention for the weekend. Kiko has made really good progress and has trained with us to a certain extent. He's not done the entirety of the session but is making really good progress. Again, I don't see him being involved this weekend.

“Danny Welbeck continues to train very well, but it's important for him that he gets a good base level of fitness that puts him in a good place. But he looks really good and we are delighted with his progress. It's important to make sure we don't rush him back now. It's great to have him back amongst the squad and training exceptionally well.”

Tom Cleverley remains sidelined with a tear to his left Achilles and hopes to be back, at the latest, by the beginning of next month. Daryl Janmaat and Sebastian Prödl are out with knee injuries.

“Tom Cleverley is making good progress,” said Pearson. “We are getting closer. He will be out on the grass maybe tomorrow and probably next week as well. Those are good signs for us moving into a busy period and an important part of the season. It's good to get these players moving in the right direction for us. Prödl and Janmaat are still unavailable for a while but are making progress.”