OPINION - Why it was right to bring Mazzarri's time at Vicarage Road to an end

17/05/2017 19:21

Here we are again. Almost a year on from Quique Sanchez Flores' departure from Vicarage Road and another managerial change has been made by Watford.

I was at university studying earlier today when I heard that Walter Mazzarri would be leaving Vicarage Road at the end-of-the-season and I could hardly say I was surprised.

Many from the outside will say it is another crazy decision, like they did when Sanchez Flores left last summer, given that the Italian has kept us in the Premier League for a second consecutive season. 'What more do a club like Watford want', 'You'll be relegated next season' and 'You're owners are stupid' many from the outside have since cried. Many said the same thing last season as well.

However, for supporters, news of Mazzarri's departure is of no surprise. In fact, it was what many were hoping for.

Mazzarri was labelled as the man who was going to take us forward. The man who was, in time, going to lead us into the top 10 of the Premier League.

To be fair, the Italian started well, with memorable wins over West Ham and Manchester United making it a fantastic start to September. By the end of October, Watford were in the top half of the table.

But since then it has been a downward spiral and if anything, Mazzarri has taken us backwards on the pitch. Yet he was the man that was supposed to take us to the next level, and ultimately, he has failed, so I firmly believe that Gino Pozzo has made the right decision to part ways with the Italian after this weekend's game against Manchester City.

Firstly, our performances have been pretty-poor for most of the season. Even in the first few months of the season the Golden Boys were unconvincing in some games. Look at the first 45 minutes against Arsenal in August, our performance against Burnley at Turf Moor and our games against Swansea and Hull, to name four, which were all warning signs of what was to come if tweaks to the side weren't made.

Two months later and things really started to go down-hill. Just look at this: Watford have won six times in the Premier League and have accumulated just 22 points since the start of December. Whatever way you look at that, it's incredibly poor. Relegation form so to speak.

We've also lost our last five in the league, scoring just three goals, and haven't won away from home since we beat Arsenal in January. Add to that disappointing defeats to Gillingham and Millwall in both the League and FA Cup and you can understand why many are so disappointed with Watford's season.

We could have been mathematically safe weeks ago, but instead we've had to rely on others to slip up and our poor form has since taken us down to 16th place in the table.

Added to Watford's poor form, errors which were being made back in August have never been fully addressed. Defensively we've been poor all season, especially from set-pieces, yet Mazzarri has tried and failed to address the issue. Going into the last 10 minutes, I've had little faith in Watford being able to retain their lead or keep the score level, because defensively we've been so poor. Yet Mazzari has never resolved this.

That brings me on to my next point, as the players have looked confused and unsure of their roles. They have looked unsure over who they are marking, the positions they should be in and the tactics that Mazzarri
has put in place. As Head Coach, none of this should be happening, as he is the one who is meant to be organising this team. Yet, the Golden Boys have looked anything but organised, with many looking unsure of their roles and devoid of ideas.

Additionally, week after week you'd see players aimlessly pointing at each other to go and pick up someone from the opposition, but instead of going to mark them or close them down, they leave it to one another to do it. That indicates to me that the players are unsure of their roles.

Another gripe among Watford fans is that the team have lacked a clear style, identity and game-plan all season and that is something which has irked me too. Injuries haven't helped him, but some of Mazzarri's team selections have been surprising and it's like he's just pulled eleven names out of a hat and thrown them on the pitch. It's no coincidence that we've looked like a team full of individuals in certain games as well.

As such, fans have never quite known what formation Watford have deployed and the football has been pretty tough to watch for large parts. We've lacked a distinct cutting edge in the final third and barring one or two games, have largely looked to hoof it up field to Troy Deeney or Stefano Okaka to chase which hasn't worked and never will do.

The fact Mazzarri can't speak English has also played a part in Watford's poor season, with members of his background staff often having to translate his message to the players. It has also made it incredibly difficult for fans to form any sort of rapport with the Italian, and Mazzarri has done himself no favours either by heading straight for the tunnel when the full-time whistle has blown.

Some of his comments in his press conferences have also been surprising, increasing the discontent among fans. For example, saying it would be normal if Watford lost their last six games this season. I'm sorry, but losing six in a row is far from normal in any league. It's alarming.

On top of this, Mazzarri would also moan about the performance of the referee or say that Watford deserved a draw or to earn all three points in his post-match comments. Yet, if Watford had earnt all the points that they had 'deserved' according to Mazzarri, then we wouldn't have been too far off of Antonio Conte's title winning Chelsea side.

In the end, Mazzarri's excuses wore thin among many, as the Italian seemed to blame everything else apart from himself for Watford's short comings.

I could ramble on here for ages, but I'm sure you can all see that I firmly believe it was the right decision for Watford to part ways with Walter Mazzarri.

So, as the Italian leaves, the rumour mill will inevitably link a host of names to the vacant Watford hot-seat.

In my opinion, it is imperative that Gino Pozzo makes the right appointment this time round. We need some stability off the pitch and we aren't going to get that from changing the manager each year.

It is not healthy for a club of Watford's stature to have continued questions over the head-coach, especially if we have aspirations of breaking into the top 10. We need someone to be in charge for more than one-season to allow them to build, otherwise we will just be back to square one every year.

It is crucial, therefore, that we get the next appointment right in what is set to be a huge summer for Watford. Gino Pozzo and Scott Duxbury have some huge decisions to make, starting off with appointing a new head coach.

Summer recruitment also needs to be correct, as it was not good enough last summer. How many of the players that we signed last summer can we genuinely say improved the squad? Aside from Roberto Pereyra, Daryl Janmaat and probably Stefano Okaka, not many.

Okay, Isaac Success is a bright prospect who has been plagued with injuries this season, but how many of the other players can we say improved this squad? Not many.

When we add to the squad this summer, we need genuine quality rather than quantity. We need more signings like Pereyra, Janmaat and Tom Cleverley rather than more Juan Camilo Zuniga's if we want to progress as a club. Getting the right head coach in is one thing, but it's also important that we give him the right squad as well.  

This is a huge summer for Watford FC and one which could define the future for this club on the pitch.