Walter Mazzarri felt the 3,300 Watford fans helped cheer on his team to a point at Southampton that will build belief in what he is trying to do with this group of players.
“It was beautiful, they were amazing,” said Mazzarri when asked about the raucous away support. “Before coming here I already saw some videos of the Watford fans so I already knew how they were. They were incredible and I want to thank them all, I did it already. If they continue like this, as I am sure they will, they are the 12th man.”
Mazzarri has first-hand experience of Watford’s support as he was at Wembley for the FA Cup semi-final with Crystal Palace. The players dug deep today, where they went missing at Wembley, especially when the going got tough following Nathan Redmond’s leveller and the red card handed out to Ben Watson. The Hornets were on the ropes but held on for a point.
“I am very happy, especially with how the team played. We used 100% of our energy, the way I like,” said Mazzarri. “None of my players at the moment got a full 90 minutes on the legs. [Etienne] Capoue was not feeling very good after the last friendly, [but] Capoue did very good.”
The nature of Capoue’s display wasn’t a surprise as we saw flashes of that last season. He always plays well when the sun shines. He played for the full 90 minutes here. He was Watford’s creative hub but, quite rightly, dropped deeper and deeper as Southampton, with a man advantage, upped the ante.
“I don’t think in the second half there were a lot of occasions for us,” said the head coach. “There was a moment when we were playing in a very good way and even in the second half we had two or three chances. Many times in the first half, we got to the box, and missed very important occasions.”
Despite the setback of conceding relatively early in the second half, and the manner of the goal, you would be hard pressed to find a Watford supporter who could find a fault with the display. It was a confidence-building afternoon ahead of a daunting set of fixtures against Chelsea, Arsenal, West Ham and Manchester United. It was vital Watford registered something in the way of points at St Mary’s.
Mazzarri, who continues with his English language lessons, believes his players are getting up to speed with what he wants.
“It has only been one month that I have been working with them,” he said, again via a translator. “There are some players, especially national players, that have been here less than a month so I try to transmit my ideas. On the pitch it is not a problem as I have my assistant.”