Sebastian Prodl believes victory against Hull City this afternoon would turn a good start into a “great” one.
The Hornets have harvested 12 points from their first nine games, a haul that looked unlikely when the Premier League fixture cruncher handed them the most awkward of starts. But Walter Mazzarri has navigated the team up to ninth, and three points today would move them level on points with sixth-placed Everton.
“If we get, in the first ten games. more points than games then it is a good start because we have had some tough opponents,” said Prodl. “We won against Manchester United, we lost against Burnley, so everything has been included in these first games so far. If we can keep on going like this and can get a good result against Hull, which we are looking for now, it would have been a great start.”
You could make a case for Prodl being the player of the season so far. While Etienne Capoue has tailed off in recent weeks, as he tends to do once the sun stops shining, the Austrian defender has been a model of consistency. You can’t read too much into stats but only Curtis Davies, Michael Keane and Steve Cook have made more blocks than him this season. He seems to be flourishing as the middle peg in Mazzarri’s three-man defence.
“We are still learning the ideas of the coach,” he said. “I think his idea of football is great: what he wants us to do is something that could go on to another level with this team. If we keep on working like this then we hope that we can achieve the things that he wants us to do.”
Mazzarri is too long in the tooth, too self-assured to need bouquets from his players to tell him he’s on the right track but he took this one from his giant defender nonetheless.
“It makes me very happy as it comes from Prodl who has given me a lot of satisfaction lately,” said Mazzarri. “He’s learned things he was not able to do before. He’s not the only one [who has learned]. The whole group has this idea. This means the group is very united and that they understand my idea and way of football.”
Watford are just one point adrift of Southampton, who pundits and armchair fans are talking up as the league’s form horse. Hull, on the other hand, are heading in the wrong direction, following up two shock wins at the start of the season with six defeats in their last seven.
“Everyone can beat everyone and at the moment we are not looking at the table because it is only nine games gone,” said Prodl. “Hull had a
great start to the season, so we should be alert as well, even though they have lost the last two or three games. There is a reason they are in the Premier League and why they have collected some points already. It will be difficult because the games where everyone is expecting a lot from you are always the difficult ones. But we are going to prepare and recover well and put everything we can into this game.”