4-0 rout by Man City deepens Watford's relegation concerns

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Manchester City's Raheem Sterling, right, celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Watford and Manchester City at the Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, England, Tuesday, July 21, 2020. (Adrian Dennis/Pool via AP)

WATFORD – As the ball rolled past him and Manchester City's score racked up, goalkeeper Ben Foster increasingly feared for Watford's Premier League survival.

“You get into a state of trying to minimize as much damage as you can,” he said, “and it’s a dangerous way to do things.”

Taking points off City was always going to be a tough task but collapsing 4-0 to the Premier League runners-up also wiped out Watford’s goal difference advantage over relegation rivals on Tuesday.

“The confidence is so crazy, crazy low,” Foster said.

It wasn't even lifted by Watford's last desperate roll of the dice — firing its third manager of the season. Hayden Mullins was promoted for a second temporary stint in charge after the ousting of Nigel Pearson for the final matches against City and Arsenal on Sunday.

“You can’t ever blame it on anything but your own performances," Foster said. “You just get used to it. In football nowadays, nothing seems to shock and you roll with the punches.”

The only record Watford is setting is for the number of managers fired in a season.

City winger Raheem Sterling left Vicarage Road with a welcome record of his own. A first-half double — a half-volley and a follow-up after having a penalty saved — took his season's goal tally to a personal high of 19.