Walter Mazzarri uttered his first sentence in English to the press yesterday as he continues to take baby steps towards conducting his interviews in the language of the country he works in.
The Watford head coach drew raised eyebrows from the assembled press in the conference room at the training ground when he started to answer a question from Sky’s Gary Cotterill in English. He quickly reverted to Italian and leaned on Lorenzo Libutti, the club’s player liaison officer, as his translator but the signs were briefly encouraging that the head coach is working towards being able to relay his inner thoughts to the fans.
“My teacher says I have improved,” said Mazzarri. “With the players, and in private, I can speak and it is going very good. With you, the press, in terms of respect towards you, I prefer to give longer, more detailed answers. If not, I would be giving very short answers. In the main I am doing very well and my teacher says the words I pronounce are very good.”
Slightly concerning was the way Mazzarri used fitness coach Gianni Brignardello to relay his message to Troy Deeney on the sidelines at Anfield when things were unravelling, but we’ll put that down to the need for clarity in the heat of the moment. In general, Mazzarri does not have to speak in English around the training ground. He has surrounded himself with trusted Italians in his coaching staff and management team; around a third of his matchday squad speak Italian; therapist Giorgio Gasparini is a key figure in the medical department; and of course he has fellow countrymen in owner Gino Pozzo and influential technical director Filippo Giraldi.