On the back of landing the longest contract of any coach in the Pozzo era at Watford, Walter Mazzarri has managed to also negotiate the arrival of nine members of staff.
Mazzarri took an entourage of seven with him to Inter Milan – keeping on others like Beppe Baresi, the brother of the great Franco – and we understand that number has increased by two as he seeks to surround himself with the best possible backroom operators for his first coaching assignment in England.
Nicolo Frustalupi is likely to be Mazzari’s number two, having worked with Mazzarri at Livorno, Reggina, Sampdoria and Napoli. Frustalupi is a life-long Inter supporter as his late father Mario, who died in a car crash in 1990, played in the Nerazzurri’s midfield for two years.
Trainer Giuseppe Pondrelli, goalkeeping coach Nunzio Papale, and technical advisors Luca Vigiani, Enzo Concin, Claudio Nitti and Peppe Santoro are all trusted aides. Pondrelli’s arrival would cast a cloud over the Watford future of Gianni Brignardello, the club’s head of sports science.
“There are the people who have followed me throughout my career,” Mazzarri said when he joined Inter Milan. “The first is Pondrelli, the fitness coach, who’s been with me since I first started coaching all the way back at Bologna. He’s always worked with me and thankfully the results we’ve had have been reassuring: our teams have never suffered from drops in fitness levels. They might have had the odd blip but they’ve never stopped running and have always been in good shape.
“Then there’s Frustalupi, who will help me with tactics and organising the players on the pitch. Luca Vigiani is a technical collaborator who will work with me and Frustalupi. Papale is the goalkeeping coach. He’s been with me my whole career since we met at Acireale and he’s achieved excellent results with the keepers he’s trained.
“That’s my coaching staff. Then we have Concina and Nitti, who work on the outside, they’re scouts and they won’t be around [the training ground]. I was forgetting someone else, someone very important. Giuseppe Santoro, a technical consultant who will help me in relations with the press. He’ll be a massive help to me across the board.”
The size of last season’s club coaching staff, according to the club’s report and financial statements for the year ended June 30, 2015, was already up eight from 2013-14 to 46.
Quique Sanchez Flores’ assistants Antonio Diaz Carlavilla, who studied the opposition, and Alberto Giraldez, who worked heavily on set-pieces, have both followed their fellow countryman out of the Vicarage Road door. The man referred to as ‘Cote’, the analyst and video editor, has also left the club. All four were absent from the awards evening on Wednesday.
The position is less clear on Dean Austin, who provides continuity between coaching reigns, and Paolo De Toffol, the Italian goalkeeping coach. They were both present at Wembley stadium on Wednesday night. Mazzarri retained Baresi when he arrived at Inter Milan – “He [Baresi] has been at the club for ages and everyone looks up to him,” said Mazzarri when he arrived at Inter. “He’ll help me settle in. I wanted to have him with me so that I can understand certain things about how the club works and he’ll stay on my team” – so he may seek to retain Austin.