Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira says Watford’s players will be “playing for their careers” when they travel to Selhurst Park on Saturday.

The Hornets have lost five Premier League games in a row and require three wins from their remaining three games to have any hope of staying up.

Even then, Watford also need two of the three teams directly above them to lose each of their remaining matches.

But with relegation not yet officially confirmed, Vieira expects Watford to give their all in south London.

“Anything can happen mathematically, so while there is hope I expect them to be fighting. We expect them to work hard,” he said.

“When you get to this position players are playing for their careers, and some are playing to have different opportunities at the end of the season.”

Watford boss Roy Hodgson confirmed this week that he will leave his position, which he has only held since January, at the end of the campaign.

With the Hornets on the lookout for a new coach, Hodgson has backed whoever replaces him to succeed in the job.

“The club is strong,” said Hodgson, who enjoyed four seasons in charge of Palace. “There’s a lot of very good things at this club.

“I think there’s a big squad of players, though we haven’t perhaps seen the best of all of them. Maybe there’s a lot more to come.

“But I would be very surprised if I don’t see Watford among the frontrunners next season.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Crystal Palace – Wilfried Zaha

Zaha was named among the substitutes against Southampton last time out due to not being fully fit, but he made his impact felt by scoring after being introduced from the bench. That was the Ivory Coast international’s 12th Premier League goal of the campaign, making this his best season at this level.

Watford – Ismaila Sarr

One-time Liverpool target Sarr has struggled this campaign, having scored just five times in 21 matches – half the number strike partner Emmanuel Dennis has managed. Watford could do with others chipping in, too, with their tally of eight different goalscorers (excluding own goals) the lowest total of any Premier League side this term.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– Palace are looking to complete their first league double over Watford since the 2011-12 Championship campaign, following their 4-1 win at Vicarage Road in February.

– This will be Watford’s 110th league meeting with Palace, making them the side they have faced the joint-most in their league history (also 110 v QPR and Bournemouth).

– Watford have won one of their last 29 league matches against London sides (D7 L21), a 1-0 home win over Millwall in April 2021. In the top-flight, they have lost 14 matches in a row against teams from the capital, the longest ever losing run against London teams in top-flight history.

– Failure to win will result in Watford’s fourth relegation from the Premier League, making them the sixth different side to be relegated from the competition on four-plus occasions (Norwich 6, West Bromwich Albion 5, Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Sunderland 4).

– Palace have kept a clean sheet in each of their last three home league games. They have never kept four in a row at Selhurst Park in the Premier League, last doing so in any division in the Championship in December 2012.