Saturday 29 April 2017

Watford boss Walter Mazzarri wary of Southampton reaction

Watford boss Walter Mazzarri sees Southampton as a
Watford boss Walter Mazzarri sees Southampton as a "very-well organised and very strong team"

Watford boss Walter Mazzarri is wary of how Southampton will react to their dramatic EFL Cup final defeat against Manchester United on Sunday.

Claude Puel's men, who Watford host in the Premier League on Saturday, battled back from two goals down against Manchester United to draw level at Wembley before Zlatan Ibrahimovic's late header condemned them to a 3-2 defeat.

Asked what kind of response could be expected from Southampton when they return to action at Vicarage Road, Mazzarri, quoted by Watford's official website, said: "Nobody can tell and nobody can know.

"For sure Southampton played a great game and maybe they are a bit disappointed because they could have gone at least to extra-time, or even won the cup.

"We will see on Saturday if they will react or not, but nobody can know this.

"We got confirmation that they are a very well-organised team and a very strong team."

Mazzarri's fellow Italian Manolo Gabbiadini scored both of Southampton's goals in the final, making it five in three appearances for the forward since his January switch from Napoli.

The 25-year-old is a player Mazzarri is well aware of and rates highly.

"I know him very well - for many years I've been following him," Mazzarri said.

"He used to be a Napoli and Sampdoria player (Mazzarri has managed both clubs) and this year he is just confirming what we all thought was going to happen.

"He is confirming that he is a great player."

Twelfth-placed Watford will be without Mauro Zarate but could have Daryl Janmaat and Costel Pantilimon available for the clash with Southampton, who are one spot below the Hornets in the table.

Winger Zarate has been ruled out for the rest of the season by the knee injury that forced him off in the 1-1 draw with his former club West Ham last Saturday.

Defender Janmaat (groin), another to come off injured last weekend, is having his fitness checked ahead of potential involvement against the Saints, as is goalkeeper Pantilimon (ankle), who has been sidelined since the end of January.

Press Association

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