Nigel Pearson has urged his Watford players to "embrace the challenge" that lies ahead of them following their 3-0 defeat to Chelsea.

The Hornets now face a run of fixtures that could make or break their season as they continue to hover dangerously close to the relegation zone.

Norwich, Newcastle and West Ham are up next for Pearson and co and the coach has told them to take the qualities he felt they showed this evening into those games and to show no fear.

"It's about looking at the games that we have left and making sure that the positives from tonight we take into other games," he said. "Only us can make sure that we stay in the Premier League - that's what it's about.

"From where we were in December to where we are now, we've got a more realistic chance. One of the problems is that we're not in a position where we're picking points up because we've had a really disappointing run of games where we've not collected points, but we're still in contact and we still have opportunities and that's the important thing.

"We've got to embrace the challenge. There's no point in having any fear in terms of the situation. We need to back ourselves, we need to show the types of qualities in terms of collective qualities that we did tonight. That's fairly simple for me."

While Pearson was acknowledged that his side needed to do more to prevent the defeat, he was still pleased with some of the improvements he saw and said there are some positives to take from the way they played.

"There's not a lot of satisfaction from coming away on the end of another defeat," he said. "It was going to be crucial that we came off the pitch at least with a feeling that we had showed commitment and desire collectively more than individually. I'm not going to spend a lot of time talking about individual events during the game but the important thing for me tonight was we showed some discipline, some cohesion, some desire and we showed flashes of quality as well.

"Certainly in the second-half as well we created more promising situations but we knew it would be a difficult night. We don't go into any game with the intention of just blocking off, we want to cause opponents a problem, but when you spend a lot of time without the ball, it's quite difficult. The players really worked hard tonight in terms of trying to deny opportunities. I think we showed a lot of discipline. We didn't always take advantage of moments we had, but it's what it is. "

The head coach did not want to discuss the penalty which doubled Chelsea's lead just before half-time, with Etienne Capoue fouling Christian Pulisic in the area with a clumsy challenge.

"I'm very reluctant to talk about individuals," he said.

"I'm not somebody who individually talks about players too much, to build people up or criticise. For me, what happens is we talk about things in private.

"Etienne Capoue is a really big player for us, he's a player who's really committed to our cause. It's an unfortunate event which put us in a situation which was disappointing for the players to have to deal with."