Mario Suarez assures Watford fans they will see his true pedigree next season after admitting spending the first half of the season in Italy and the second in England has been difficult.
Much was expected of the Spaniard when he arrived at Vicarage Road in the final days of the winter transfer window. He has a reputation few Watford signings could match. The 29-year-old had won La Liga with Atletico Madrid in 2014, played in the Champions League semi-final in the same season and had represented Spain as recently as March 2015.
But Suarez wasn’t match fit, as was evidenced by his debut at White Hart Lane. He’d missed pre-season and started just eight games for Fiorentina during his six months with the Serie A club. He was slowly integrated into the Watford side by Quique Sanchez Flores, who coached the midfielder at Atletico, but Suarez only showed fleeting glimpses of his smooth-passing in his 15 appearances, most notably at West Ham United away.
“It has been a difficult season,” the Spaniard posted during a question and answer session he ran on Twitter this morning. “Many changes, four months in hotel etc…”
Suarez officially joined on January 30 but only moved into his own home near Heurelho Gomes three weeks ago. He had spent the previous months at The Grove with his wife Malena, who is pregnant with their first child. Their daughter is expected to be born over the summer while the couple are in Spain.
With so many off-field distractions, it is perhaps unsurprising Suarez hasn’t produced his best in a Watford shirt. However, he believes next season will be different, even though life will be strange without Sanchez Flores, the man who brought him to Watford.
“I’m really looking forward for next season, doing a good pre-season,” he tweeted. “This year was difficult for me,” he posted in reply to a question asking if he’s enjoyed his spell at Watford. He added in a later Tweet: “You will see my best version next year.”
While Suarez has yet to hit the heights expected of him – his performances at Liverpool and Norwich were so poor he was left on the bench for the final league game of the season – he does not appear to have any regrets about signing the four-and-a-half year contract at Vicarage Road amid firm interest from Liverpool, Valencia and West Bromwich Albion.
“It’s very different. These months [have] helped me. I’m sure the next season you will see the best of me.” He added: “Spanish and Italian football is more technical. England is more physical, more competitive. I like it.”