Hodgson: There were ‘virtually no negatives’ from Watford-Burnley draw

Roy Hodgson believes there were “virtually no negatives” from Watford’s goalless draw against Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday.

The ex-England manager faces an uphill task to keep Watford in the Premier League as they are struggling near the bottom of the table.

Saturday’s clean sheet against Burnley was their first in 31 attempts but they are one point adrift of safety.

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“It was a positive, there’s no doubt about that, to get a point at a difficult venue away from home, like Burnley, has got to be seen as a step in the right direction for us,” Hodgson said.

“I think it was important after having the seven or eight days working with the players and trying to establish a relationship with them and getting perhaps to understand some of the principles that we think are going to be important going forward.

“It was really nice to see that they could take that into the game and it produced the result. So I must say there are virtually no negatives from that game as such but of course, it’s a small step along the way.”

Watford travel to West Ham on Tuesday to face a team who will be looking to bounce back from successive league defeats to Manchester United and Leeds and a hard-fought FA Cup tie against non-league Kidderminster.

However, Hodgson is likely to be without star player Ismaila Sarr at his disposal, after the forward played for Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations final on Sunday.

“It’s a very great achievement for Senegal to win the tournament for the first time, I was really happy for him, happy for Senegal,” the new Hornets boss said.

“But now we do badly need him back with us to help us win and I’m hoping that they will get him back or be able to get him back as soon as possible because the earlier we can count on him playing in our team, the better.”

When asked about the prospect of Sarr taking the field for the upcoming visit of Brighton, Hodgson said: “Well he’s clearly fit, so there won’t be any problems in terms of his fitness and luckily it seems he’s recovered from the injury.

“He’s played quite a lot in the last two or three games, so if he is back in time and has recovered from any travel backlog then I’m hoping we will be able to use him.”

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