Walter Mazzarri brought his own media and PR man with him when he joined Watford in the summer. Antonio Finco, a very amenable former journalist, might need to really earn his corn over the next few days as there is a palpable sense the tide is starting to turn against the intense and difficult-to-warm to head coach.
Even at the death, when things started to get messy, Quique Sanchez Flores got the benefit of the doubt from the media and the fans as he freely engaged with both. It’s important you have plenty of goodwill in the bank as you end up needing it in difficult times. Mazzarri isn’t in credit with either and his failure to converse in English is really damaging him. The fans want to hear from the man who is the face of their club and are being denied that simple pleasure right now. Mazzarri could be speaking in Swahili when things are going well but when they are not, like right now, then the language becomes an easy stick to beat him with. You do wonder how Mazzarri communicates with Scott Duxbury, the executive chairman who runs the club, let alone his players. “He needs a translator to get his message across,” said Etienne Capoue in a pre-match interview with Sky.
There was a nagging sense that things would have got ugly among the increasingly restless fans had Christian Benteke put Crystal Palace two goals to the good before half-time. Heurelho Gomes’ penalty save merely delayed it. That feeling of unease in the stands, that the natives sense something isn’t quite right, was well and truly confirmed when Spurs roared into a three-goal lead before the break this afternoon, the third time this season Watford have found themselves three goals down at half-time. The players were booed off at half-time and full-time – and rightly so. The fans would have booed Mazzarri had he not bolted down the tunnel like a rabbit does down a warren. Mazzarri is slowly losing the fans. He’ll be in real trouble if he starts losing the players, well those players who are fit, anyway. Yes, there have been the highs of the wins over Manchester United, Leicester and Everton but they are being easily forgotten every time this fitful lot produce performances like the ones against Burnley, Liverpool, Stoke, Sunderland and Tottenham. And the buck, ultimately, stops with Mazzarri. He’ll point to injuries, with some justification, and asked to be judged when he has his full team available, but the injuries are part of parcel of the game and, besides, they are occurring all too frequently to be attributed to bad luck. Something is badly wrong somewhere. The casualty list is certainly cutting little ice with fans on social media. Here are a selection of posts that have populated our timeline this evening.