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‘We need to improve in front of goal,’ demands Mazzarri

Walter Mazzarri accepts that amid padlocking the back door, Watford are finding it difficult to unpick the lock at the other end as he strives to get the balance right between attack and defence.

Watford had been seemingly sent out by Mazzarri with the mindset of ‘If you score three, we’ll score four’ mentality but the gung-ho approach has been tempered in recent weeks. It’s still worked a treat – seven points from three games – but Mazzarri knows one goal won’t always be enough to secure the points.

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“There are things we need to improve,” he said. “For example against Hull we need to be able to score easier. We are finding it difficult in front of goal and we found this in the first half against Hull. If you don’t score you can throw away three points that should have been easier.”

Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo have scored just one goal from open play in the last six. It’s far too early to be talking about a drought and, besides, it’s a hugely encouraging sign that Watford have picked up two wins and a draw without a goal from the pair who scored 28 between them last season.

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Deeney took ten games to get off the mark last season but already has three to his name at the same stage this time round. He should have made it four against Hull last time out.

“It’s possible it’s a psychological problem because on Saturday he should have scored,” said Mazzarri. “Now hopefully he can score on Sunday so that from here on he can score as many as possible.”

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You have to go back even further for Ighalo’s last goal, to September 10th against West Ham, and he’s on a run of just two goals in his last 23 league games.

“Hopefully then he starts scoring again against Liverpool,” said Mazzarri. “I know last year he had a very good start and then slowed down a bit. I don’t really care what happened last year, I know this year Ighalo is slowly getting better. There are many factors why he has slowed down a bit – playing with the national team a little bit and losing his condition. I am happy with Ighalo and he is improving.”

Picture by Franziska Empl
Picture by Franziska Empl

Mazzarri talks from a position of strength when it comes to talking about forwards as he has coached Ezequiel Lavezzi, Edison Cavani, Antonio Cassano and Nicola Amoruso.

“All the forwards I had in the past, as I think is normal, had peaks of form during the season and times in the season where they were less
good,” he said. “It is very important for me that all the forwards help improve the team. It doesn’t mean all they can do is score. In my teams in the past all the players on the pitch managed to score. Many of my midfielders or wingers, left backs, right backs scored many goals.
Many of the forwards, it is important they go out wide and get assists as well as scoring. What I care about is Watford scores one more goal
than the opposition.”