Walter Mazzarri was left to bemoan his bad luck after witnessing his side limp to a 1-0 defeat at Sunderland, a game that saw another injury scare with Sebastian Prodl trudging off in the first half.
Some have drawn a correlation between head of medical Richard Collinge’s departure and the increase in the amount of players in Watford’s treatment room. It perhaps is just merely a coincidence, but under his guidance Watford had one of the best injury records in the top flight last season. Mazzarri is not benefiting from the same luxury as Quique Sanchez Flores in being able to name a settled side.
“This tells us a lot, you can see what is happening,” said a clearly frustrated Mazzarri. “Many of these players were ok, they did their whole preparation with us and then, unfortunately, they have knocks or [are injured] due to fouls during the game. They suffer injuries and this is mainly unlucky.”
Watford cannot legislate for injuries like the serious one Roberto Pereyra picked up on Wednesday night, the shoulder injury Daryl Janmaat picked up against Man United or the training ground clash of heads between Janmaat and Adrian Mariappa, but there are too many injuries being picked up in training. You could also argue that Success was pushed too hard at Middlesbrough and likewise with Stefano Okaka against Leicester. It also took a while to get to the bottom of the problem afflicting Craig Cathcart. Brice Dja Djedje is also thought to have suffered another set-back. There is the theory some players didn’t get enough miles in their legs in pre-season.
“Success and Okaka joined us a little bit later in pre-season,” said Mazzarri. “Also you can see with Cathcart, he has had a muscle problem that’s he has brought with him for a long time but if we want to look at the muscle injuries, there are only two players, which is Okaka and Success. Maybe the way we were training didn’t help us. Janmaat also had a shoulder injury and these are all very unlucky things.”
The upshot is that Watford’s squad has been pushed to breaking point and partly resulted in a fourth straight away defeat. The win over Everton is now looking an even bigger one and there is a degree of apprehension going into Christmas games against Crystal Palace and Tottenham. Watford need to stop a mini rot.
Perhaps the only positive to come out of today is the suggestion that Watford have avoided another injury scare with Prodl’s leg injury not thought to be serious. “I didn’t have time to check on him [Prodl],” said Mazzarri. “He had a knock on his quad and it shouldn’t be anything too serious.”