WATFORD (REUTERS) - Ten-man Watford continued their fine run of form under new manager Nigel Pearson and boosted their hopes of avoiding relegation from the Premier League with a 2-1 home win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday (Jan 1).
The result left Watford 19th on 19 points from 21 games after they celebrated their third league win coupled with one draw under Pearson, while Wolves stayed seventh on 30 points after a second successive defeat.
Watford midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure, who scored the home side's second goal, was confident the Hornets would claw their way out of the bottom three and stay in the top flight.
"We deserved to win, we have had a fantastic week and we want to carry on and get out of the relegation zone," the Frenchman told BT Sport.
"Not a lot of people believe in us but we will fight to stay in the Premier League, and we will do it."
Gerard Delofeu and Doucoure fired Watford ahead before Pedro Neto pulled one back for the visitors, who failed to capitalise on a numerical advantage in the last 20 minutes after the home team's defender Christian Kabasele was sent off.
Deulofeu opened the scoring with a neat 30th-minute finish when he beat goalkeeper Rui Patricio with a crisp low shot into the far corner after good work by Ismaila Sarr.
Doucoure made it 2-0 in the 49th when he cut inside from the left and found the top corner with a firm drive which clipped Wolves defender Conor Coady and left Patricio stranded.
Neto reduced the arrears on the hour with a heavily deflected effort which sailed over Ben Foster and Wolves piled the pressure after Kabasele was shown a straight red card following a VAR review.
The centre back was originally booked for hauling down Diogo Jota just outside the penalty area but Watford held on in the closing stages, with Foster making a crucial save when he palmed away Matt Doherty's shot.
Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo was unhappy with his team's performance.
"We didn't start so well but we had two clear chances," he told the BBC. "We should improve, it makes a lot of difference when you take your chances as you can manage the game, especially when you have such a tight schedule."