First Team 2 weeks ago

Pearson: “I’m My Own Man, He’s His Own Man”

Nigel Pearson said his relationship with Craig Shakespeare is fundamental to what he’s trying to achieve at Watford, revealing they only accepted the challenge at Vicarage Road on the basis they would stick to their principles and go about their business with a sense of perspective.

Pearson and Shakespeare, who worked together at West Brom, Hull City and twice at Leicester, walked in the door in December and while laying out a few ground rules, particularly around punctuality and discipline, they immediately set about winning a few hearts and minds. Smiles were immediately restored to faces and the upshot was four wins in five games. 

“We both came here with a similar mindset in that ‘let’s give it a go, let’s enjoy it as well’,” said the Head Coach in an interview with Premier League Productions.

“We both promised ourselves that we wouldn't come into something like this and spend all our time worrying. We want to embrace the challenge and enjoy it for what it is. It's fair to say we've both got quite a dark sense of humour as well, and humour is very important. That doesn't mean everything is a laugh and a joke. It allows you to lighten a difficult mood. There is the right and wrong time to do that.

“It's important that we work with as little fear as possible, but with a realistic outlook on what the task is. If we don't have that we send the wrong message. It’s important that everyone understands what is expected of them to contribute to changing our fortunes.”

Conventional wisdom would have it that Pearson wields the big stick and Shakespeare dangles the carrot, that Pearson plays the bad cop and Shakespeare assumes the good-cop role, but the Head Coach said that isn’t necessarily the case.

“People have mis-placed views on what our two characters are like,” he said. “I think I’m probably a bit more soft than he is and I’m maybe a bit more tolerant of some things. I’m just really pleased I've got him alongside me. It’s two people who have had different experiences and some shared experiences.

“I’m my own man, he’s his own man. We don’t always agree on everything, but we are both team players. It’s also very important for me to have somebody who understands what I am. I’m not always the easiest to work with I’d suspect so it’s actually good to have someone who understands you and who you trust implicty.”

First Team 2 weeks ago

Watch: Exclusive Footage From Cleverley's U23 Return

Watch exclusive footage as Tom Cleverley made the next step in his recovery from injury by playing for the Under-23s.

Hear about the midfielder from his teammates and coaches as we follow him for the 2-2 draw at Ipswich Town.