Walter Mazzarri has sought to foster a team spirit in a short space by of time by asking the squad to base themselves at a Hertfordshire hotel until they depart for the pre-season trip to Austria.
Mazzarri, who only officially started work on Friday, met the majority of the squad for the first time on Monday and in a very Italian move, he has requested the players spend their days at the training ground in London Colney and their nights at the hotel in a bid to acclimatise with his methods, get to know his coaching staff and rebuild a squad that was fractured by the end of last season. Nearly half the squad did not turn up to the awards night while most left the bash at Wembley stadium as soon as the final award was handed out.
Mazzarri will be all too aware he has a new culture, language and squad to familiarise himself with and that the first game of the season, away at Southampton, is only five weeks away. He has been overseeing daily double training and fitness sessions alongside coaches Nicolo Frustalupi, Claudio Nitti and Luca Vigiani and fitness trainer Giuseppe Pondrelli.
While Mazzarri may have experience of how eating, training and sleeping in close quarters benefits team bonding, he also runs the risk of players being cooped up for nearly three weeks (when the trip to Austria is factored in) and having minimal contact with their young families. Mario Suarez has recently become a father while Obbi Oulare is set to become a father in a month.
Miguel Britos, who worked under Mazzarri at Napoli, felt the stay in a hotel towards the end of his time in Naples, under Rafael Benitez, contributed towards the rash decision to infamously head-butt Alvaro Morata and earn a straight red card.
“We had just been eliminated from the Europa League, we were then eliminated by Lazio in the Italian Cup and then we missed out on Champions League qualification,” Britos told us last season. “The president kept us away for 20 days from our families because he was not happy with how we were playing. All this accumulated together and I did something I should not have done.”
Watford’s players are accustomed to staying in a hotel the night before a home game, away from their families, but the failure of Quique Sanchez Flores to join them as his reign wore on saw him gradually lose the respect of the dressing room and caused concern in the boardroom.