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‘Pereyra now understands what I want him to do’

Walter Mazzarri says he will run the rule over Daryl Janmaat, Valon Behrami and Craig Cathcart in training this afternoon to determine their involvement in tomorrow’s game with West Ham United.

Janmaat and Behrami returned to the country on Wednesday after international duty and only trained with the squad yesterday. Behrami looked particularly weary when we saw him yesterday. Cathcart, meanwhile, will undergo tests on the calf injury that ruled him out of the game against Arsenal and Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifier with Czech Republic.

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“It is not easy because I need to verify the players who came back on Wednesday,” said Walter Mazzarri this morning when asked about his team selection. “One of them is Janmaat, the other is Behrami. Today I’m going to do the last tests. Even Amrabat, Cathcart and Guedioura as well. I need to verify them.”

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Mazzarri spoke later in the press conference about how he is a cautious coach and how it’s the goals the team have conceded that rankles with him. It will therefore be fascinating to see the team he selects and how attack-minded he is at the London Stadium.

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It is hard to imagine Roberto Pereyra not starting, especially after his encouraging 45 minutes against Arsenal, but Mazzarri will be mindful that playing the forward-thinking Jose Holebas, Nordin Amrabat, Etienne Capoue, Troy Deeney, Odion Ighalo and Pereyra away from home could leave Watford exposed at the back.

Picture by Franziska Empl
Picture by Franziska Empl

“I am sure now Pereyra understands what I want him to do to perform on the pitch,” said Mazzarri when asked if the Argentine would start against the Hammers. “Since yesterday, I am very, very happy as we have the complete squad. Now we know what the group is because in the past weeks there have been lots of movement. We are still delayed by one or two weeks in our preparation. We are all waiting for it [the win]. Of course we need it. We are happy we are growing and should have at least one more point than we have.”