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Craig Cathcart makes case for defence after wily Watford win under Roy Hodgson

Saturday’s superb defensive display provided the foundation for a deserved 1-0 win at Aston Villa.

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Craig Cathcart applauds the fans (Adam Davy/PA)

Craig Cathcart applauds the fans (Adam Davy/PA)

Craig Cathcart applauds the fans (Adam Davy/PA)

Craig Cathcart praised Roy Hodgson for bringing composure and organisation to Watford after the relegation-threatened side secured their first win under the former England manager.

Having only picked up two points in 11 matches following the shock win against Manchester United in November, the ex-Crystal Palace boss was last month brought into replace Claudio Ranieri.

Hodgson oversaw the Hornets’ first win in three months on Saturday afternoon, when a superb defensive display provided the foundation for a deserved 1-0 win at Aston Villa.

Emmanuel Dennis’ late header was the difference on an afternoon when impressive centre-back Cathcart believes they reaped the benefits of the recently-appointed manager’s approach.

“It’s something we’ve been working on, we’ve tightened up since the manager has come in,” the defender said after a second clean sheet in four matches under Hodgson.

“He’s got us all pulling in the right direction and working hard together.

“I think the performance and the way we played today, we showed fight, and took our chance when it came so we can be really happy.

“We knew they had a lot of threat going forward. They’ve got players in the attacking areas who are clever and get in the pockets.

“We didn’t have to panic, defended well and got through the first half at 0-0 and knew there would be opportunities in the second half.

“He asked us to keep going, and we passed it a lot better than last week against Brighton.

“There are positives to take into the next match and the win is a big thing, three more points on the board and we want to kick on.”

Watford sit in the last relegation spot after their Villa Park triumph and are just four points off safety ahead of Wednesday’s home clash with Hodgson’s former club Palace.

Vicarage Road is sure to be bouncing and Cathcart hopes to give the fans another result to shout about.

“(The supporters) have been great all season,” he told the club website. “We’ve been struggling of late and they’ve been right behind us.

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“There were so many of them in the stand today, it was packed, so it was great to give them the win.

“We’ve got a big game coming up against Palace so hopefully they’ll be behind us again.

“To come here to Villa Park and get a 1-0 win is a big boost for us and we want to carry that momentum into the next games.”

As for Villa, it is back the drawing board after a disappointing start to 2022 under manager Steven Gerrard.

“We’ve played three teams below us in the last three games and we’ve taken one point, that’s not good enough,” the Liverpool great said.

“That’s on me. I realise that things need to change, we need to improve and we need to do it fast. We have to face the music and move on.”

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