Nigel Pearson has said it was 'not easy' to enjoy Watford's game with Leicester City on Saturday without supporters in the stadium.

The Hornets salvaged a point from the match through an unlikely Craig Dawson bicycle kick after Ben Chilwell's strike in the last minute of normal time seemed to have given the Foxes all three points.

Despite the exciting finish, Pearson said it was hard for him and some of his players to adapt to the new environment with no fans there, with the remainder of the season to be completed behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's not easy, I'm not going to hide from that," he said. "You've got to remember there are a lot of players who respond to the emotional attachment of an atmosphere in a game and I think it's something that we've all got to come to terms with for the good of the game. We've got to find a solution in the short term to allow the game to survive in many ways in the format that it is. 

"Let's remember that this game is for the supporters and so it's not straight forward but I'm really pleased with how our players have been able to detach themselves from the potential negatives of the situation and still be able to perform. I think we've played pretty well today bearing in mind we're playing against a very good side who are having a very successful campaign so far and it's an important point for us."

Pearson also praised goalscorer Craig Dawson, who he revealed had been unhappy sitting on the bench while Christian Kabasele and Craig Cathcart have been the preferred partnership.

The head coach said he admired Dawson's enthusiasm to want to play and that his goal was a deserved reward for his patience.

"He can be particularly grumpy when he's not playing, but I like that," said Pearson. 

"I like the fact that he's not happy when he's not playing. As far as I'm concerned, I'm not here to be the friend of the players, I'm there to give some sort of a structure to it, so I like the fact that he's not always been happy when he's not playing and that's a good sign for me.

"It's a sign of players having a desire to show what they're capable of, it's also a sign of players being committed to dealing with the circumstance that we're currently in, so I'm very pleased with him today. Firstly he's defended well. He's defended with a lot of control. The big story going into today was the fact that Jamie Vardy's on 99 Premier League goals and he was kept relatively quiet for long periods.

"When you play against a player of that calibre, sometimes they only need one opportunity, so days like today for centre backs are about being able to keep your concentration levels high to make as few mistakes as possible. He's had a good game today and I'm pleased for him, just because he's had to patient and because Kabasele and Cathcart have created a good partnership and have done very well for us. But I just felt in the last few weeks that Craig Dawson had done enough to start today.

"I'm pleased for him because he's been patient, he's waited for his opportunity and he's taken it today."