‘Walter Mazzarri can be very tough’

Younes Kaboul knows how to make the right impression. He introduced himself to the assembled media after the Arsenal defeat and proceeded to shake the hand of everyone present. It was a classy touch. He strikes you as the type of player who is just grateful for the opportunity to have joined Watford, having been granted a return south for personal reasons.

He didn’t have to wait long for his introduction, thrust into action immediately for the visit of Arsenal. It was a debut that didn’t go to plan, however, with Watford conceding three goals in a frenetic first half. We can only imagine what the head coach must have said at half time.

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“He can be very tough,” said Kaboul. “He is someone who really knows what he wants.”

The language barrier adds another layer of difficulty for the head coach in conveying his instructions but we’ve been repeatedly told that this isn’t an issue. Kaboul is still transitioning to a new club and a new system as he gets up to speed with Mazzarri’s expectations as part of the back three.

“He’s learning and he’s improving,” said Kaboul. “He’s a manager who has plenty of experience in Italy and he is clear, you understand straight away what he wants. We worked hard in training with this formation, we can improve of course, but we do our job.”

Picture by Franziska Empl
Picture by Franziska Empl

Mentality seems to be the buzzword around the training ground. Heurelho Gomes talked about the importance of a good mentality after the draw with Lorient and the head coach referenced it at length after the defeat to Gillingham. Kaboul also referenced the mentality being instilled into the squad by the coaching staff, something that played a part in a much improved second half performance.

“I think [our strength] is the mentality of the squad,” said Kaboul. “All the boys have a very good mentality and we put the shift in on the pitch. Of course the first half was bad from us but second half we had a reaction [and] maybe if we had a penalty or scored the second goal it would have been a different game.”

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Picture by Franziska Empl

Watford head into the international break without a win in four games but Kaboul was part of the Sunderland side who, last season, didn’t register their first win until October.

“Last season at Sunderland we had a bad start but we changed managers also,” he said. “It was a tough season. There are many reasons why we had a bad season. The target at Watford is to carry on the same, or even better.”