Watford manager Roy Hodgson believes a good result against Chelsea in his last game in charge would be “worth its weight in gold” to the club.
The Hornets’ relegation from the Premier League was confirmed on May 7 following a 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace and they were also beaten 5-1 by Leicester in their final home game of the season.
Hodgson will bid farewell to Watford – and most likely call time on his managerial career – after the game at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, with Rob Edwards replacing him in the dugout next season.
And Hodgson is determined to end his reign on a positive note and give the players something to build on next year in the Championship.
“I think from the club’s point of view a positive result would be worth its weight in gold,” the 74-year-old told a press conference.
“Especially at Chelsea because we’re not the bookies’ favourite to win that day so if a group of players – many of whom are going to be here next year – could go to Chelsea and play well and get a result…
“I thought we were on that track with the way they played against Crystal Palace and the way we played against Everton I thought we were actually on that track of finishing reasonably well and a bit of optimism for next year despite doing that whilst knowing we’re relegated.
“I’m afraid the last result (against Leicester) has plummeted the morale so if we could just find a way to get a good performance and even better a good result it would be awfully good for the team going forward.
“And of course for Ray (Lewington) and I it would mean that our last match that we watch with Watford is not one that we’ve virtually handed to our opponents on a plate because we made so many bad errors.”
Hodgson was appointed in January as Watford’s third manager of the season, following Xisco Munoz and Claudio Ranieri, but was unable to prevent an immediate return to the second tier.
And the defeat to Leicester in their last home game of the campaign has left the former England manager more determined to end on a high.
He said: “It’s even more important after the real disappointment or debacle last Sunday when after two good team performances, albeit a team who were weakened by the loss of many players, went out and conceded five goals.
“We’re playing Chelsea so it’s a great opportunity for them to get out and show that we’re disappointed we didn’t give our home fans the type of performance that they wanted to see from us but we’ll try and give them that in this away game.”