Tuesday 23 May 2017

Walter Mazzarri confident injury-hit Watford will find form

Walter Mazzarri's Watford face Stoke on Tuesday
Walter Mazzarri's Watford face Stoke on Tuesday

Watford manager Walter Mazzarri is backing his team to climb out of their current slump once key players return from injury.

However, the Hornets could still be without nine players for Tuesday's trip to Stoke as Mazzarri's men attempt to bounce back from their 4-1 hiding at home to Tottenham on New Year's Day.

Juan Zuniga is unlikely to feature after feeling pain in his ankle during the warm-up against Spurs while Nordin Amrabat was taken off with a leg injury in the second half.

The pair join a long list of absentees that include Adrian Mariappa and Roberto Pereyra, who both have knee problems, Isaac Success, Daryl Janmaat and Valon Behrami, who are all out with muscle injuries, and Stefano Okaka, who is recovering from a hamstring strain.

Midfielder Ben Watson also missed the defeat to Tottenham due to personal reasons.

The injury crisis has taken its toll on Watford, who have slipped to 13th in the Premier League table after winning only one of their last seven games.

"I'm not happy because we should have got more points with some of the games compared to the position we are now, and be even higher," Mazzarri said.

"But for sure we are in line with the objective of this year. At the beginning of the season we did much better than expected.

"I think if we get the injured players back and get over this negative moment, which every team can have, then we can get back again even higher in the league."

Stoke sit just one point behind Watford in 14th and will take confidence from their performance at Chelsea on Saturday, when they twice drew level with the league leaders before finally going down 4-2.

Watford also have one less day to recover for the game than their opponents, who won 1-0 at Vicarage Road in November, thanks to an unfortunate own goal from keeper Heurelho Gomes.

"We are going to do some recovery at the training ground and prepare for the game versus Stoke," Mazzarri said.

"We have 50 per cent less time to prepare than Stoke. They had more rest than us. It will be very difficult but I guarantee we will do everything possible to defend the badge."

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