Troy Deeney says the fact Walter Mazzarri is operating a much stricter regime than Quique Sanchez Flores is one of the reasons why Watford have made such an impressive start to the season.
Watford’s executives wanted a coach to restore high levels of discipline when they were searching for a replacement for Sanchez Flores who loosened his grip on matters around the training ground once it became clear Watford were going to stay up with something to spare. Training was cancelled at least once at short notice, while Deeney was allowed to skip training to appear on Soccer AM and then not reprimanded when he missed a training session the following day.
“It’s tough,” said Deeney on the Hornets Show. “He [Mazzarri] demands every day. He’s a bit old school in the sense that he demands off everyone. If you get kicked in training, I’ve been with managers who send you in to go and get treated. He’s like, ‘No, you stay out.’ It’s the way it should be. He loses his temper as well. One of the criticisms of Quique last year was that he was a bit too nice, especially in the back end of last season, when he let people get away with things. Mr Mazzarri will not be doing that, is the easiest way to say it. He’s brought in a different way and he’s adapted, too. He’s not said we are playing 3-5-2 every game. He’s been flexible and [for example] moved Iggy to the left against Man United. He demands results.”
Deeney, however, is not giving all the credit for Watford’s hugely promising opening to the head coach. The Hornets, after all, have some damn fine players and look every inch an established Premier League team.
“You have to give him [Mazzarri] some [of the credit] but this is the best squad we’ve ever had,” he said. “I don’t want to discredit any stuff the past players have done but there has never been a Watford team that has had this much quality throughout.”
It’s all a far cry from Deeney’s first game for the club in 2010 when Malky Mackay named Eddie Oshodi, Michael Bryan, Ross Jenkins, Liam Henderson and Piero Mingoia on the bench.
“I can remember the year I signed that we had five or six young players on the bench for the Norwich game,” said Deeney. “You just have to look at how far we’ve come, off the pitch. It’s a massive turnaround. I look at it that I’m still lucky to be here. If you look at the resources they have got they could easily have got Saido Berahino, for example, and said, ‘Right, thanks Troy, see you later.’ That’s how football works.
“They’ve added quality but kept the core [of the squad]. People label Watford as having one team for one season, getting rid of that and then getting another one for the next season. But it looks like they are building for the future and, with no disrespect, getting rid of dead wood. Success, Pereyra, Janmaat and Kaboul have all come in and looked the part. Even someone like Zuniga. People don’t appreciate what he’s like around the place. He’s a really good pro and makes people laugh.”