Walter Mazzarri is expecting Crystal Palace to benefit from the bounce effect that accompanies the appointment of a new manager after the Eagles swiftly appointed Sam Allardyce to replace Alan Pardew as their manager.
Allardyce’s last Premier League game came at Vicarage Road – the 2-2 draw with Quique Sanchez Flores’ side in the final game of last season – while attending Watford’s game with Manchester United earlier this season was one of his final duties as manager of England. He now looks set to mark his return to football by taking his place in the dugout opposite Mazzarri for the Boxing Day clash.
Mazzarri is wary of the managerial change, not least because he has spent the last week studying a Palace side set up by Pardew.
“It will not be an advantage for us because until today we knew how Crystal Palace were playing and now it could be a surprise,” said Mazzarri. “We have to prepare for many different tactical situations so we have to be extra ready. You cannot know what happens next, it is very difficult to tell. In some cases the change is positive. The interim coach can make some changes but it could also be a disadvantage to us.”
Mazzarri has only been relieved of his duties once in his long and illustrious coaching career, when he was sacked by Inter Milan in November 2014. He was sad to see another of his peers lose his job this week.
“When this happens of course I’m not happy because we are all colleagues, but that’s football,” he said. “It is only the managers who pay the final price. I do not know the dynamics inside Crystal Palace but I’m not happy. I didn’t expect it for sure. At the end of the day the points are what count but when I watched their team they played good football.”