Walter Mazzarri is yet to meet the media but he answered some gentle questions posed by the club’s media team in a Q&A for the club’s season ticket holders.
You’ve managed some big clubs in Italy and have enjoyed a very successful career, so why did you decide to come to the Premier League?
“I was a manager in Italy for 15 years, but at one point I realised that it was time to go abroad and put myself to the test as I need challenges in my life. I decided that the Premier League is the right place to start because it’s the most important league in the world. When the Watford opportunity came up I took it because I feel that the club and I are on the same wavelength.”
You decided to record a video message for the Watford fans, even though you’re still improving your English. Why did you choose to do this?
“I wanted to send this message out of respect to the Watford fans. I knew they would have appreciated that their new coach was making an effort to speak English. At our first friendly game they showed me their appreciation and this made me very happy. I must say the welcome I received has been nice, and I’m happy to have become part of this family.”
What do you feel you can promise the supporters?
“I want to be the first supporter of this team. To our fans I can promise that I will be the guarantor of the effort of our players. I want them to give their best until the final whistle of every match. We’ve had a positive start as I can see that during training they all follow my instructions, they participate well and they listen to me.”
What do you ask of the fans?
“To the fans, I ask them to always be supportive to us. I watched on television the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley and what impressed me most was the warmth of the fans in the stand. At the end of the match they all cheered the team even though the result was not what they wanted. This attachment to the team is fantastic.”
Were you a good player back in your home country of Italy?
“When I was young people said I was the new Giancarlo Antognoni, who was a winger of huge talent and a world champion with Italy in 1982. Unfortunately I suffered a serious knee injury that jeopardised my career, but I did play around 50 games in Serie A with Cagliari and Empoli.”
When did you first realise you wanted to pursue a career in coaching?
“Towards the end of my career as a footballer I realised that I was able to pursue a coaching career, because in all the teams I played for I was considered a go-to person for both my teammates and the manager himself.”Is your style an arm round the shoulder or a kick up the backside?
“I have the experience and the balance to manage a group of players, no problem. People think of me as a motivator that expects everyone to follow the rules with no exceptions. Napoli must have been an amazing experience. Were you able to enjoy it despite the pressure? I’m used to pressure. Napoli was a great adventure that lasted four years with intense pressure, but I must say I work best under pressure because I like challenges.”
What are you looking forward to most about coaching in the Premier League?
“Definitely the atmosphere in the English stadiums. I can’t wait to sit down on the bench for the first time at Vicarage Road in front of all of our fans.”