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Walter Mazzarri says he’s grateful for opportunity at Watford

Walter Mazzarri chose to accept a three-year contract as head coach of Watford because “they are in line with my idea of football.”

Mazzarri was at the club’s training ground on Monday to meet with owner Gino Pozzo, chief executive Scott Duxbury and sporting director Luke Dowling after his appointment was officially announced on Saturday morning. Making Juan Jesus, the Inter Milan defender, his first signing was understood to have been discussed. The name of Adem Ljajić, Roma’s Serbian forward who spent last season on loan at Inter, has also been mentioned.

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Adem Ljajić

Mazzarri, 54, was linked with jobs at Besiktas, Fenerbahce and the Italy national team job but opted to accept the opportunity to replace Quique Sanchez Flores, signing the longest contract of any Watford coach under the Pozzo era and allowed to bring nine backroom staff with him.

“After many years of work the moment arrived to take some time off, reflect and improve what little English I already knew,” Mazzarri told reporters at the Football Leader event in Amalfi, Italy. “It was a positive year. Inter? All experiences are positive and I emerge fortified by it. I am not interested in anything else. I’d like to thank Watford for seeking me out. This opportunity arose and I chose the project. The club is in line with my idea of football. Going to the most important league in the world is fantastic, as I rediscovered motivation and enthusiasm.”

Walter Mazzarri

Mazzarri has spent his entire career coaching in Italy, working at seven clubs, including Sampdoria, Napoli and Inter Milan.

“Will I miss Italy? Right now, what I feel inside is the desire to have this adventure,” he said. “Every now and then it’s not bad to break away for a bit. Maybe I’ll return to Italy more motivated.”

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He will be, as it stands, the fourth Italian to coach in the Premier League next season and the 11th in total of the Premier League era.

“It’s good to see the Italian school of coaching doing so well abroad and we ought to be very proud of that,” he said.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of this week’s WD Sport. The next issue is out tomorrow morning and it features the latest on the future of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo, a Q&A with Luther Blissett and an exclusive column with Tommy Smith. It’s available from all the usual places you’d expect to pick up a newspaper. Email jane@wdsport.co.uk for subscriptions.

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