JAMES Ward-Prowse has stressed the importance of beating Watford this weekend after the ‘wake-up call’ they got against Manchester City.

The midfielder was recalled to Saints’ starting 11 for the trip to the Etihad Stadium which ended in a 6-1 thumping.

And 24-year-old now believes because of that result, the home game against Watford has become even bigger for them.

Ward-Prowse said: “We knew it was going to be tough coming here and it’s obviously not the result we wanted, but it’s a big wake-up call.

“We altered the formation slightly before the game and it didn’t quite work but we changed it at half-time and were a lot better in the second-half.

“Although we conceded two goals, we were a lot stronger and there is no faulting the commitment or endeavour from the lads, but we can’t afford to keep making mistakes and conceding goals.

“We can’t start games like that and it magnifies the game on Saturday for us because it’s a big game.

“Watford have started the season very well and they are in a strong position.

“You don’t want to lose two games in a row.

“We’ve had two clean sheets prior to the City game and we are keen to get back to that.

“Every game is must-win for us.

“We’ve learned a lot from last season and we need to beat the teams around us first and foremost because I think that will give us the position of where we want to become the end of the season.”

The game against City was the first Premier League match Ward-Prowse has started since the 2-1 loss to Everton back in August.

He has only made five appearances in total this season after Mark Hughes opting to play Mohamed Elyounoussi in the midfield role.

And Ward-Prowse revealed the challenges of sitting on the bench, only to be thrust into the side for a trip to the league leaders.

“It’s hard when you aren’t playing,” Ward-Prowse added.

“You’re eager to help the team in any way and it’s always hard coming into games – especially against a team like Man City.

“For me, it was good to get out on the pitch and play a bit of football as that’s what I want to do.

“I’m pleased to get some game time, but ultimately, it’s not the result I wanted.”