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Mazzarri on healthy competition between Deeney & Okaka

“Competition Brings Maximum Performance”

Walter Mazzarri says he wants to replicate the healthy competition he has for the number nine role all over the pitch.

The Head Coach rotated Troy Deeney and Stefano Okaka for the recent spell of three games in a week, starting Okaka against Sunderland and Tottenham while giving Deeney, who has scored six in his last eight league starts, the nod for the game in the middle against West Brom.

He feels the fact the Hornets have their fourth all-time leading scorer and an Italy international vying for the lone striker role speaks volumes for the strength in depth the club has in that department. 

"For next year we want two good players for every role," said Mazzarri. "We have got that this year with the number nine. Competition brings maximum performance and I think this is what our fans would like to see."

Mazzarri went on to explain in detail his decision to start Okaka twice and Deeney only once. 

"Troy is okay and is available," he confirmed. "Before the Sunderland game he had a problem and couldn't train for eight days. For Sunderland I chose Okaka as he managed to do all training and he was in a very good condition. We won and we played very well as a team, including Okaka.

"Three days later we played against West Bromwich and Troy played, even though we played well against Sunderland. After Sunderland, Troy trained very well with the team and he played very well. We won again playing very well. We won both games with both of the choices.

"The third one, against Tottenham, we needed more help in the defensive phase and Okaka was more fresh. It doesn't mean Troy wasn't in a good physical condition. I took many things into my decision: the work, the recovery – all the things a manager takes into consideration."

Mazzarri, who has been coaching for 16 years, says he likes it when players are unhappy if they have been left out. He doesn't want players who are content to sit on the bench. 

"I know all the players that don't play are not happy," he says. "This is normal. The fact they are not happy means they are keen to play and that they are very professional. I'm sure it was the same for Okaka against West Brom when he did not play."

Mazzarri says he will announce the line-up to his players tomorrow morning. "We play these games with 14 players and it's just as important who goes on the bench as it is who plays. I am here to make the club grow and get the best performances and results as possible."

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