Nigel Pearson thinks Watford’s game with Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday will be a chance for his players to prove they can handle the pressure of a relegation fight.

Speaking ahead of the match, the head coach said he did not want to spend time focusing on other teams’ situations and instead is intent on focusing only on what he and his players can do to change their fortunes.

Watford had enjoyed an upturn in fortune under Pearson in his first seven league games in charge, but in their past two they have lost from winning positions, sending them back into the relegation zone and the boss knows this weekend presents another difficult challenge.

“It’s important that we concentrate very much on getting our own house in order, so to speak,” said the head coach, “so that we can at least after every game say that we’ve done what we can to get a result.

“The Premier League represents tough games every time that you play and I think whenever you play sides who are around you, there’s a temptation, from elsewhere not really from ourselves necessarily, for people to make or speculate that you’ve got a better chance of winning than in other games.

“These games are always about how players are able to deal with the pressures of the game and the situation and I think that’s the most important thing.

“We need to make sure that our players are able to play as well as they’re able to play. If we do that we’ve got a really good chance of coming out with three points.

“We’ve got a healthy respect for Brighton because first game of the season they beat us here 3-0. We’re aware that they have qualities and their result last week, to come back into the game from 3-1 down to get a draw, shows that they’ve got ability as well. We’ve got to do it right.”

Regardless of the events of those last two defeats, Pearson’s impact has greatly improved Watford’s chances of achieving Premier League survival this season, having clawed back a nine-point gap to put them within one win of moving out of the bottom three.

The head coach believes this is reason enough to be optimistic about their chances, as is his playing squad which he thinks is good enough to avoid the drop.

However, Pearson is also keen not to spend a lot of time dwelling on what has gone before and instead is only interested in setting his team up to face Brighton on Saturday.

“Even with recent setbacks we’ve got ourselves back in contact and that is very important for us,” he said.

“We can afford to be slightly more optimistic and I think from where we were to where are now is a bit more encouraging, but the realism of being involved in a relegation battle means that you have to get over setbacks pretty quickly and one thing remains absolutely constant and that is with the players that we have I still have a very strong belief that we can make further progress because they’ve applied themselves very well.

“You always have to point out where things don’t quite go your way, but having said that, I also have to reflect on sometimes we’ve had some good fortune and maximised that. We were unlucky against Villa and we contributed to our own failings last week. It’s what it is, there’s no point in wasting energy spending too long dwelling on that. What we have to do now is make sure that we are ready for the next game and that’s what we’re doing.

“As far as I’m concerned, the emphasis of this week has very been much on preparation.”