Walter Mazzarri says there is no truth in the story that he lit up and smoked a cigarette in the Queens Park Rangers changing room during half-time of Watford’s friendly at Loftus Road.
“I want to say it’s not true at all,” Mazzarri said through an interpreter this afternoon. “This was pure invention. Yes, nobody is perfect. I do smoke. I want to say I always have extreme respect for the person next to me. If the person next to me tells me not to smoke, I don’t. No, I wouldn’t allow that [my players to smoke], not even my son to smoke. Because of the job I do sometimes in life there are moments when small things make you feel better. For me, that is smoking.”
We are aware Mazzarri has been smoking on the sidelines of the training field, but hadn’t been made away of him sparking up in the sanctuary of the changing room. The concern for the club will be that the story, about him smoking in the dressing room, has been leaked to the newspaper at this early stage of his reign. Stories began to emerge, in national newspapers, towards the end of last season about Quique Sanchez Flores not staying in the hotel the night before a home game in what were the first signs of dressing room discontent.