Walter Mazzarri felt this afternoon’s performance could not be placed in the same category as the horror shows at Turf Moor and Anfield, although he was stretching it a bit when suggesting Watford “deserved at least a draw”.
“I don’t agree,” said the head coach when asked if this was another occasion when Watford didn’t turn up. “We cannot compare this with how played we played at Burnley and Liverpool. You have have to see the whole 90 minutes and not just some parts of the game. If you see the occasions we had to score, then this is a game where we deserved at least a draw.”
Watford, from memory, only really tested Stoke keeper Lee Grant in the first half, with one left-footed effort on the run from Daryl Janmaat and then a low drive from Etienne Capoue after Nordin Amrabat teed him up. Mazzarri felt Mark Hughes complimented his side, who could have gone sixth, by matching their formation.
“Stoke has a very strong team, they are very good and they played almost like a mirror with our tactics,” said Mazzarri. “They surprised us a lot, in the midfield.”
Mark Hughes could, quite rightly, feel he won the tactical battle.
“They didn’t understand what they were up against in the first period,” said Hughes. “We got our technical players on the ball in good areas. They went more direct in the second half, which was to be expected.”
Mazzarri continued to explain why he felt hard done by that Watford went home empty-handed.
“Aside from the goal they scored, which was a foul on Behrami, I don’t think they had too many occasions [to score],” said the Italian head coach. “We had two or three counterattacks where we could have scored more than once. In the second half, what Stoke did in the first, we did but much better than them. We put them in their area for almost the whole of the second half. And while we were 11 v 11, the only thing we missed was to score. Of course, I want much more from team. But it can happen, especially a game like this. If you look at whole 95 minutes, the teams were at the same level.”