Manager Nigel Pearson wants to ease the goal burden on captain Troy Deeney in Watford’s fight for Premier League survival.

Since Pearson took over at Watford two months ago, only Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah have netted more times (seven) in the top flight than Deeney’s five goals.

But Watford have found the back of the net just 23 times from their 25 matches this term, just one more than Crystal Palace who have the worst record in the division.

And ahead of his side’s pivotal clash against Brighton, who are also scrapping to salvage their top-flight status, Pearson is keen for Deeney’s team-mates to pitch in.

“Speaking to Everton staff after the game last weekend, and it was like that after we faced Spurs too, they were very complimentary about how irritating Troy is to play against,” said Pearson.

“What you have to remember with someone like Troy is that he is a very difficult customer. He is somebody who does score goals and his record is very good but on top of that he is game-effective too, when I think about how he occupies more than one player at a time.

“But the bottom line is that we need to find goals throughout the squad. You have to accept that players will get themselves into scoring positions, and generally speaking, Troy does do that.

“But we need to find ways of other people contributing too, and that is an ongoing process which we are trying to find the answers to.”

Successive defeats against Aston Villa and Everton have sucked Watford back into the drop zone and they will head to the Amex Stadium for Saturday’s late kick-off two points and two places adrift of safety.

Tyrone Mings struck in the fifth minute of stoppage time to win all three points for Villa in January, while Theo Walcott scored at the death to complete a 3-2 comeback victory for 10-man Everton at Vicarage Road last weekend.

“I don’t want to make something out of nothing,” Pearson said of the late goals his side have conceded.

“These things can sometimes happen. In other games we have seen them out exceptionally well.

“I am sure we will find ways of winning games with a late goal as well. It is how you deal with that.

“There are probably more mistakes in the Premier League than other leagues in Europe where there is a bit more controlled possession and it is a slower tempo.

“Of course, it is not nice when it happens to you, but I could waste an awful lot of energy putting the players under more pressure of pointing out something they are acutely aware of.”