Team captain Wes Hoedt sat down to look back on the 2023/24 season and share his own personal thoughts on Watford’s campaign.

In part one of the season review, which you can read here, he discusses events from the summer through to the turn of the year.

Now the defender reflects upon events from the start of 2024, and the changes at the training ground that were just around the corner.

As a senior player, did you feel that time was running out for Valerien Ismael?

“Of course, but there is always a combination of things.

“I think it is the responsibility of the group because we are the ones on the pitch.

“The coaching staff are involved as well because of the decisions they make and the style of play they choose, plus how they handle the situations.

“But yet the players are responsible for the performances on the pitch, and in my opinion there was a lack of people looking in the mirror and actually taking responsibility for their own performance.”

Because the club has been in the Premier League quite recently, is there still an air of entitlement around the place?

“That’s hard for me to comment on, as I have only been here less than two years.

“For me, the Championship is a ruthless league, but even without quality you can still fight.

“If you outrun your opponents, and fight, then you can still go up. If you add quality to that then it’s quite easy to be in the fight for the top spots.

“But we haven’t figured out how to do that.”

Does that mean you admire what a club like Ipswich has achieved?

“I don’t admire them but I respect that they have shown that this division isn’t just about quality and spending money.

“It’s about having a group of players who really want to accomplish something and hold each other accountable for performances and results.

“I think that’s a culture we have to install if we want to go anywhere.”

Ignoring the league table for a moment, who was the best team we played against?

“I think the hardest game we had was Leeds away. That was where we struggled the most.

“Leeds were really good that day.

“But overall I think there has been a lot of teams at the same level, a lot of teams who were good and ready to fight, and they have quality on the pitch.

“Leeds and Leicester have the greatest quality players, but not many teams in my opinion were unbeatable and that showed because both those teams struggled at times during the season.

What have you noticed since Tom came in?

“He has brought in a lot of positivity.

“He has a strong personality, which is important for the club, and he has had his fair share of moments at Watford.

“I think he and his coaches have done really well by making us hard to beat and if you look at the stats we had five clean sheets since he came in.

“We lost twice, but the game at Southampton we should not have lost. That was really tough to take.

“But also in this period we have drawn too many games, and that is due to us not killing and finishing games.

“We should have beaten West Brom, we weren’t creative enough against Preston.

“One of my teammates, Ryan Porteous, said the other day that whenever we keep a clean sheet we can’t score, and when we score we can’t keep a clean sheet.

“That lack of balance is something that has killed our performances, because when you keep a clean sheet you just need one goal to win a game.

“We’ve had enough chances to win those games, but when we’ve scored goals we’ve generally been too open.

“But since Tom came in it has been really positive, and I am happy for him that he got the job permanently.”

Does it help to have a head coach that played the game recently?

“Yes and no, and it’s something I have thought about a lot.

“Sometimes you see managers do stuff, and you think that because he’s been a player he knows what is right and what is wrong.

“But as a coach you are in a different position with different pressures.

“It can be helpful, and Tom will just need to find his own way. He’s done a good job so far.”