Walter Mazzarri has told his players to cut out the petulant acts of dissent and, at the same time, pleaded with the referees to cut his team some slack and be more even handed.
Watford have carved out an unwanted reputation as the joint most ill-disciplined side in the league, picking up 33 yellow cards and two reds – the same number as West Ham.
Nine of the yellows have been for dissent, which is, again, a league high. “I told my players even if they are right, they have to stop protesting,” said Mazzarri. “My team is not dirty, not always committing fouls. It is a team that wants to play football. I want to avoid yellow cards for protesting.”
Mazzarri went onto suggest that Watford are not getting the rub of the green from the men in the middle, using the one-sided nature of Sunday’s yellow card count, in a game that produced a combined 38 fouls – again, a league best – as an example.
“I’m not very happy,” said Mazzarri. “I never like to speak about referees but I want to also defend my team. I feel referees are making decisions during the game for the same foul, that are a yellow to one team and not a yellow for the other. This makes us very angry. This is why we were very angry in the last game [against Stoke].
“I want to make something very clear: the referee is just like us, another human being and he can make mistakes, like everyone. But the decisions that he takes have to be the same for both teams. This has to be very clear. If one team pulls the shirt of other, then he has to be sanctioned the same as the other team. Referees are not taking the same decisions for similar fouls. I don’t have any prejudice against the referees. I trust them completey I just say what I see.”