Walter Mazzarri insists his relationship with the fans should not be influenced by his command of the English language, believing instead it should be shaped by the amount of work he’s putting into extracting the best out of this group of players.
Mazzarri is sixth months into his tenure as head coach of Watford and apart from the odd sentence of two, is yet to convey his inner thoughts, via the media or club channels, in English. This, coupled with him disappearing down the tunnel as soon as the final whistle has sounded, has led to some fans not particularly warming to the Italian.
The genial Quique Sanchez Flores, on the other hand, made a point of applauding all four sides of the ground after home matches and regularly asked the local media and the club’s head of communications to correct him on any English terms he mis-pronounced. There is, as yet, no sign of a similarly catchy tune to the one The 1881 Movement came up with for Sanchez Flores, a sign that the fans are still to truly take Mazzarri to their hearts.
The usually intense Mazzarri was as relaxed and charismatic as he has been all season yesterday afternoon, gifting the media a bottle of Prosecco each; wishing his inquisitors a Merry Christmas; conversing with a member of the written media in pigeon English while having a cigarette afterwards and even partly answering a question in the language of the country he works in. Small steps and all that.
“If I speak [English] in the street, it is fine,” he said in English before reverting to Italian and leaning on his translator, Lorenzo Libutti. “I want to [speak in English] but it’s not possible for me to be as precise with the media. I would make very bad mistakes [if I did]. I want to take this opportunity to thank the fans for the banner they made at our last home game, which was very nice. I also think they can understand exactly what I am saying as I have a good translator. I think if the fans really want to understand the work I do for the club, then they should see I am giving everything.”