Watford captain Troy Deeney has rejected talk he will be involved in team selection for Tuesday’s game with Manchester City and refuted reports there was a fight during half-time of Friday’s 3-1 defeat at West Ham.
Hayden Mullins has been appointed interim boss at Vicarage Road after Nigel Pearson left the role of head coach on Sunday, with the club 17th in the Premier League and three points above the relegation zone.
While Mullins and head of goalkeeping Graham Stack will take charge of the Hornets against City, the captain will be focused purely on matters on the pitch.
“I just want to put it out there, there was no fight at half-time,” Deeney told beIN Sports. “It is 2020, you don’t do that any more and certainly with all the cameras you would see a lot more if that was the case.
“The gaffer didn’t put his hands on anybody. He was just frustrated and had a firm talking to us. No-one was fighting, no-one was punched and no-one was tickled. There were no hands thrown.
“Second of all Troy will not be picking teams because I have read that online as well. I am player-coach apparently. Anything else I have missed out? We wasn’t locked in so a lot of interesting things.”
Premier League 2019/20 latest standings (bottom five)
Deeney admitted he was surprised by the decision to sack Pearson, who was Watford’s third permanent manager of the campaign after Javi Gracia and Quique Sanchez Flores.
The 56-year-old guided the Hornets to notable triumphs over Manchester United and Liverpool, but will not finish the job he started in December.
“You get to a point in football where you are not surprised any more, but I would say this one surprised me and took me back a bit,” Deeney added.
“I wasn’t anticipating that was going to be the situation we’d walk into on Sunday. We had an up and down week before.
“We won two games (against Norwich and Newcastle) and you’d like to think we would have got a better result against West Ham, but that wasn’t to be and the club made a decision.
“You have to respect that decision. Again they pay us, they are our bosses essentially and we have to respect the decision and give all the support you can to good people in Hayden and Stacky.
“We want to make sure we give them the best chance because ultimately their career depends on it moving forward.”