Mazzarri | “Continuity In Performance”

By Kevin Affleck

Walter Mazzarri will check on the fitness of Miguel Britos and Valon Behrami ahead the trip to Old Trafford, where he is seeking a 90-minute performance from his team.

Both have missed training days this week and the medical staff will assess them today to see if they will be fit to play against the Red Devils or if they will join Nordin Amrabat (ankle), Camilo Zuniga (fever), Costel Pantilimon (ankle) and Christian Kabasele (muscular) on the sidelines.

Mazzarri takes the rest of the near fully-fit squad to Manchester full of confidence on the back of a four-match unbeaten run, including back-to-back wins.

“These two victories were important for confidence,” said the Head Coach.

“For us to be a great team, to make the next step forward we need to have continuity in performance. We played well in the first-half of both games [against Arsenal and Burnley] but bad in the second.

“This is something we need to change if we want to make the next step. What we did in the first-half we have to do for the whole 90 minutes."


Miguel Britos is hoping to be fit for the trip to Old Trafford

United are without defeat in their last 15 league games, their longest unbeaten stretch since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013. The Hornets go there chasing a first victory at United's home since 1978.

“We are playing away in this great stadium and Manchester United, along with Chelsea, have lost very few games in the whole season, only three,” said Mazzarri.

“They have 15 positive results and this tells you a lot about who we are going to play against. They are in a great condition, especially when they played against Leicester.”

Chelsea, Manchester City and Watford are the only teams to have tasted victory against United in the league this season, the Hornets' historic win – their first over United in more than 30 years – coming in memorable fashion in September thanks to goals from Etienne Capoue, Zuniga and Troy Deeney.

“If they only lost three games [this season], and one of them is against us, then this gives great value to our victory,” said the Head Coach.

"We met them in another part of the season. The season is very long and a great manager like Mourinho was always going to do well with Manchester United. He's now showing it.”

Mazzarri did not see eye to eye with Mourinho when the Portuguese was in charge of Inter Milan, repeatedly clashing when his Napoli and Sampdoria teams met with Inter. However, they buried the hatchet at Vicarage Road earlier this season.

“He was a complete gentleman," said Mazzarri. "I saw him immediately after the game and we spoke, we even joked about some things. I was the same towards him. We have mutual respect and we try to do the best with the teams we have got.”


Mazzarri and Mourinho have put their fiery past behind them, according to the Watford boss

Watford's Head Coach lived in Manchester after he left Inter in a bid to immerse himself in the English culture ahead of landing a Premier League job. Yet tomorrow's game will be his first visit to Old Trafford.

“It's one of the few English stadiums I haven't been to," he said. "I've been to Stamford Bridge, Manchester City and Liverpool but never been to this stadium. I'm curious how it will be.

“The stadiums here give you a great atmosphere, it gives you adrenaline. It would mean a lot [if we won there]. It would mean we made the step forward. It would mean as well we could make a result against any team. I'm curious to see how we will be tomorrow, to see if we can get a positive result."


Under-18: Watford 0-1 Charlton

David Horseman’s Under-18s were left feeling disappointed following a narrow defeat to Charlton Athletic on Saturday morning (February 4) at London Colney.

Hornets goalkeeper Andrew Thomas made an impressive penalty save early on, but the Addicks scored what proved to be the winner deep into first-half stoppage time. 

Horseman’s side had chances to draw level through Josh Roe, Jubril Adedeji and Treon Johnson, but it was top-of-the-table Charlton who secured all three points.

The match started at a frantic pace and within two minutes a penalty was awarded to the visitors as Mustapha Bangura-Williams was tripped.

Midfielder Albie Morgan stepped up and hit his effort low to Thomas’ right. The shot-stopper however got down superbly to deny the powerful effort and ensure the scores remained level.

The Addicks created two chances at goal midway through the half as Alex Willis firstly headed narrowly wide from a corner before he once again failed to test Thomas, heading over when well-positioned in front of goal. 

Chances finally fell Watford’s way shortly after as Roe rolled the ball to central-defender Marian Huja from a free-kick. He fired a low shot goalwards which just deflected wide off the defending wall.

Harry Forster and Johnson both went close as the former’s shot hit the side-netting before the latter just steered Roe’s delivery from a free-kick wide of the target.

The Addicks responded and were dominant for the closing stages of the half. Willis struck the bar and Bangura-Williams saw a shot well held by Thomas.

But deep into stoppage time the visitors scored what proved to be the winner. Morgan swung a corner into the box from the left which Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu met with a firm header, which he guided past Thomas. 

Forster was an impressive outlet down the left-flank and he almost set up Johnson for a simple tap-in, but for a fantastic clearance by Charlton’s Romarno Simpson, who impressed throughout the encounter.

Adedeji saw a low shot saved and Roe just diverted an excellent ball wide from David Sesay, as the Hornets looked to get back into it. 

The chances continued to fall Watford’s way but neither Johnson from a Roe corner nor Adedeji could put their side on level terms.

Thomas in goal however had to remain alert as he saved well from Morgan’s strike, before pulling off a fantastic reflex save to deny substitute James Gody.

It proved to be too little too late for the Hornets as the Addicks saw out the victory. Horseman’s side travel to QPR next weekend as they look to return to winning ways.


Despite the result, David Horseman was pleased with the positions his side got into, and the fact they created good chances against a top side.

“We started slowly in the first 10 minutes but after that I thought it was a really even game, and a good one against a side that is romping the league this year,” he said, speaking exclusively to watfordfc.com after the game.

“Between the boxes I don’t think there was much difference between the two sides. They probably had a little bit more quality in the attacking third though on the day in terms of being clinical.

"We got in great areas on so many occasions though, which was really pleasing, but the ability to pick someone out or to get in front of the man was lacking. We’ve got to be more clinical, but that’s the bit we need to keep striving to improve at the moment.”

A number of Horseman’s players from last season, notably Michael Folivi and Brandon Mason, have made first-team debuts recently, and the Under-18 Coach believes that should encourage the club’s youngsters to up their performances even more.

“There’s clearly an opportunity now at this club for the young players to progress,” he stated.

“The players train a lot with the first-team here. They train and play with the Under-23s too so there’s definitely a route into the first-team if they want it enough. That has to give the lads a boost now.

“It’s amazing to have seen Mason and Folvii make their first-team debuts recently. When it’s players you’ve spent a lot of time working with it’s fantastic, not just for myself and my staff but everyone in the Academy.”

HORNETS: Thomas (GK), Sesay, Gordon, Kaikay, Huja, Mukena, Forster, Stray (c), Adedeji, Roe, Johnson.
Subs: Lacy (GK), Harrison, Mullings, Bennetts, Tricker.