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Pereyra: ‘Watford can push for the Europa League spots’

Roberto Pereyra has revealed his sadness at being made available for transfer by Juventus, how he’s using a mental coach and that he’s not ruled out Watford qualifying for the Europa League or returning to the international fold.

Pereyra signed for a fee rising to £13m after Massimo Allegri felt he was surplus to requirements in Turin. Juve’s loss has very much been Watford’s gain.

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“Of course I was upset [at being sold],” Pereyra told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I expected different behaviour from Juve and above all Allegri. I was cast out for no reason and many Bianconeri fans still write to me, saying I’d have been very useful in the current midfield.”

As it is he’s the jewel in Watford’s midfield, producing a gem of a goal against Leicester City. “I am happy with what I am achieving at Watford: I have a coach, Walter Mazzarri, who has full faith in me. I am in good shape both physically and psychologically, plus I have a couple of objectives to achieve.”

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Image by Franziska Empl

Like what?  “We’re taking it one day at a time, but we could have our say for the Europa League places,” he said. “I also have another objective, to get back into my international team. It’ d be great to wear the Argentina shirt again. “I am focused on doing well at Watford, but it’d be nice to return to Serie A as a protagonist. Some might regret having let me go. I had a difficult year, always playing in fits and starts. I’d done good things at Juve, so I expected to be treated better.”

Pereyra signed a five-year deal at Watford but he’s not arrived in the comfort zone and is willing to roll his sleeves up. His attitude can, in part, be attributed to the work he’s doing with Alberto Ferrarini, the mental coach used by Italy and Juve defender Leonardo Bonucci’s motivator.

“I was sceptical at the start, but have changed my mind,” he said. “I cannot explain what he did exactly, as to be honest I’m not even sure what work he does, but whatever the method, he makes me feel happy. I feel this positive energy surging within me and on the field everything seems easier because I am more determined and believe in myself like never before.”

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Image by Franziska Empl

Heurelho Gomes feels the 25-year-old is the missing piece in the Watford jigsaw, the creative spark who can unlock those mean Premier League defences. “He is, I believe, the final touch that we missed last season for a long time,” Gomes told Sky Sports. “His quality is there. He can pass it, he scores beautiful goals like he did. He’s such an important player for us because sometimes he’s a player that will link out midfield to the strikers, and he can finish off the game.”

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West Ham and Tottenham were both tracking Pereyra this summer but Watford were always in the driving seat, once he became available, because the Pozzos had him at Udinese.

“I went to Watford because the Premier League intrigued me and the Italian owners of the club convinced me,” said Pereyra. “I didn’t know Walter Mazzarri, but he spoke to me over the summer and made me feel important. In tactical terms, the Italian coaches are the best.”

*Featured image by Franziska Empl