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Watford boss Pearson defends approach to FA Cup after Tranmere thriller

Watford boss Nigel Pearson defended his selection for their 3-3 draw at FA Cup opponents Tranmere Rovers.

The Hornets appeared to be cruising through to the fourth round after goals from Tom Dele-Bashiru, Nathaniel Chalobah and Roberto Pereyra fired them into a 3-0 interval lead. But Rovers stormed back, helped by Roberto Pereyra's red card, to secure a replay at Vicarage Road.

Pearson said: “For me the priority has got to be the Premier League. I can't sit in front of you and try to give you a feeling that everything is equal in terms of how we look at competitions. Unfortunately for us the FA Cup is not the priority.

“If we were in a more comfortable situation and had more players available, but we don't at the minute, we have quite a lengthy injury list and I can't afford as a football club to put ourselves into a situation where we go into the league programme with even fewer players available. It's relatively simple like that as far as I'm concerned.

“I've got to make decisions based on what's right for our season. Of course I would have liked to have gone through today and at half-time, coming in as we did, I would have expected us to see it through. But when you have an injury at half-time and then two players come off because they've got cramp it just shows you the situation we find ourselves in.

“[There are] Lessons to be learned and a good experience for those youngsters, but hopefully the take home message for them will be they've done alright today, but they also need to be technically and potentially good enough, they've got to be physically good enough as well.

“I'm sitting here today and, yes, I'm disappointed but I'm also in a position where I can say I've learnt quite a bit about players today and that's really important too."

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