Watford were relegated from the Premier League on Saturday afternoon after failing to beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
The Hornets were 12 points from safety with four games remaining prior to Saturday’s fixtures, meaning anything less than three points wouldn’t have been enough.
That task became even harder when Wilfried Zaha’s first-half penalty gave Palace the lead. And when Watford defender Hassane Kamara was sent off after the interval, it became mission impossible. Watford failed to find an equaliser – registering just one shot on target – as finished 1-0 to Patrick Vieira’s side. The result leaves Palace in 11th.
Watford have endured a poor campaign after winning promotion last season, finishing second in the Championship. They’ve picked up just 22 points from their 35 Premier League fixtures – with only Norwich boasting a worst record this term.
Manager Xisco was sacked in October, just seven games into the season. Watford had made a decent start to the campaign, picking up seven points to sit 14th in the table. Yet the club’s hierarchy believed performances indicated “a negative trend”.
Watford chiefs were right to suspect a negative trend, although the appointment of former Leicester and Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri did not buck it – despite big early wins against Everton and Manchester United.
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The Hornets failed to win another league game under the Italian after that and slipped into the bottom three by the time he was sacked in January. In came Hodgson, yet he’s managed to win just two Premier League fixtures so far.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s game, Hodgson admitted Watford’s survival hopes were all but over. “The writing’s certainly on the wall,” he said. “I mean, we would need more than a miracle. So I don’t think it’s correct even to start suggesting and giving people false hope.
“You know, unfortunately, our hope was that in the three games, starting with Leeds, and then through Brentford and Burnley , we would get enough points to keep in touch with the fellow strugglers.
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“We came close, I think in those games, I think we could honestly say that wouldn’t have been wrong if we’d have taken more points than we did… because we had our moments and we looked as though we were going to get the result we wanted, but we didn’t.
“And that’s put us in the position where we are. So we have to face up to that. And it’s going to obviously be tough then for players now.”
Norwich’s relegation was confirmed following their 2-0 away defeat to Aston Villa last month. The Canaries and Watford will be joined by one of Everton, Leeds and Burnley in the Championship next term. The Toffees are currently occupying the final relegation spot.