Walter Mazzarri has defended his training methods and his staff’s handling of his injury-prone players against a backdrop of figures that show Watford have already had more injuries this season than they did in the entire of the last campaign.
According to the trusted injury website PhysioRoom, the Hornets picked up 28 injuries between August 1, 2015 and the end of last season. If you add today’s injuries to Daryl Janmaat and Valon Behrami plus the latest one that has kept out the injury-prone Isaac Success, there have already been 36 injuries of varying degree of seriousness since August 1 of this year, robbing Mazzarri of key personnel and preventing him from naming a settled side.
“It is not because of training,” Mazzarri, “this I can guarantee. When I see all the injuries, the majority are not muscle injuries which could have been linked to training. For example, Pereyra twisted his knee, there is nothing you can do there. Janmaat’s injury with the shoulder is not a muscle injury. The ones with muscle injuries, like Okaka, for example, arrived later. The same with Success. Cathcart was a muscle problem he had for over a year. The muscle problems are not linked to the intensity of training and preparation.”
Yet the fact Janmaat and Behrami went off so early against Palace cannot be solely down to bad luck. Richard Collinge, the head of medical, was remember sacked after the game against West Ham. The club have apparently spoken to former Charlton physio Erol Umut about joining their over-worked medical team.
Mazzarri might, in hindsight, have handled Success and Okaka differently, withdrawing them earlier when they started for the first time, as it was very late on against Middlesbrough and Everton respectively when fatigue kicked in and they picked up hamstring injuries. Although there is no legislating for the injuries to Roberto Pereyra (knee), Janmaat (shoulder and face) and Adrian Mariappa (face and knee), Ben Watson, Kenedy, Miguel Britos, Jerome Sinclair and Younes Kaboul, Success are among those to have picked up injuries in training.
Watford have invested a significant amount of money into the medical facilities at the training ground, including the installation of a cryotherapy chamber. In between back to back games in the north of England last week, the team visited the The Manchester Institute of Health & Performance to aid the recovery process before the game against Sunderland. This video provides an insight into the work they do following a game.