Watford's players need to “step up” or they won’t be at the club next season.
That is the view of Hornets striker Troy Deeney.
The Golden Boys missed out on automatic promotion on the final day of the 2012/13 campaign and went on to lose the play-off final.
Deeney admits the players thought they would “steamroll” the Championship this season but that hasn’t been the case, with the team eight points below the top six.
The 25-year-old said: “We had a big upheaval and, mentally, a lot of us have had to change.
“Last year, everything was going really well and now we’ve had a bit of a coming down period where teams have sussed us out. We’ve had to reinvent ourselves. We’re doing that now and we need to kick on.
“We had a great start and we thought we were going to steamroll every team. I wouldn’t say we didn’t put the work in but, mentally, we weren’t in the right place to go to win a game.
“The old manager left and the new one has come in and given everybody a kick up the backside. You have to step your game up or you won’t be here. Simple as that.”
Beppe Sannino has been at Watford three months and has started to answer some questions in English when conducting his post-match press conferences.
“He’s coming along. He’s trying,” Deeney said of Sannino’s English. “I’m not naïve enough to think someone’s going to pick up the language in a few months. I couldn’t go to Italy and learn Italian in three months.
“We have a bit of banter. I’ve picked up a few Italian words, so I give him a bit of stick in Italian.
“Most of his team talks are in English now. It’s a bit broken but there’s a few guys in the team who speak Italian and English, so it’s not a massive problem. A lot of the words are pretty similar, so you know what he’s on about.
“It’s football, at the end of the day. You’ve still just got to go out and win, that’s all that matters.”
The Hornets are eight points below the top six with eight matches remaining. But with a game in hand, the play-off dream is not completely out of the question.
Deeney is a realist though.
“It’s eight points with a game in hand so you never know but, at the same time, we’ve won one game away from home, it’s not really the time to be banging on about the play-offs.
“We’re going to have to really keep knocking the wins out and you never know. That’s the beauty of football. We just want to do what we’re doing and hopefully be in and around it in the last couple of games of the season,” the striker added.