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Watford boss Hodgson wants commitment from Dennis, Ekong, others

Roy Hodgson has told his Watford players they need to be committed and to buy into his ideas if they are to have any chance of avoiding relegation this season.

In his first interview since being unveiled as the new manager of the Hornets, the 74-year-old said that he believed his squad was strong enough to retain top-flight status, but that he and assistant coach Ray Lewington were going to be key to helping the players perform to their potential.

“I agree with the club’s belief that there is a group of good players here, but they have to buy into our ideas and show commitment to the shirt,” Hodgson told the club website. “There are no easy games in the Premier League and if we do stay up it’ll be because they’ve listened to what we’ve said and found the performances to earn the points we need.”

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The former England and Crystal Palace boss acknowledged the size of the challenge ahead of him, but said he was confident that there is still enough to play for this season to keep Watford in the Premier League.

And with his experience from top flight relegation battles elsewhere, he believes he has shown before that he is the ideal person to be in charge for such a task.

“It’s a massive challenge, but it’s a​ challenge I believe I’m ready to take on and one that I’m very excited about,” he said. “I’m certainly looking forward to it, and if the players are as good as I think they can be, then I’m hopeful of helping the club to another season in the Premier League.

“I’m confident in the sense that I’ve been in situations that aren’t so different to this before, at Fulham, West Brom and Palace. The period of time I had to change things might have been a bit longer on each occasion – and at West Brom the league position wasn’t as bleak – but in terms of coming in, getting my ideas across, and getting the team playing, it feels somewhat similar.

“It’s going to be a difficult job for Ray and I, as I’m sure it would be for anybody, but I feel we’ve got the ability to be successful. I can certainly assure all the Watford fans that our desire to keep the club in the league will be every bit as great as theirs, and we’ll do everything we can to make that happen.”

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