Monday 23 April 2018

Walter Mazzarri demands Watford response after cup upset

Walter Mazzarri faced criticism after going out to Millwall in the FA Cup
Walter Mazzarri faced criticism after going out to Millwall in the FA Cup

Under-fire Watford manager Walter Mazzarri has demanded a response from his players after they crashed out of the FA Cup to Millwall.

The Hornets lost 1-0 to the League One side in the fourth round of the competition, and are currently in the midst of a poor run of form which has seen them record just one win in their last nine matches.

Mazzarri came in for criticism after making a handful of changes to his starting XI, keeping just four players from the Premier League clash with Bournemouth, and suggesting after the match that his side did not deserve to lose, instead questioning the officials' decision making.

However having reflected on the loss, Mazzarri has called for a response as he prepares his side to travel to Arsenal on Tuesday.

"First of all, I want to say that yesterday I was very upset immediately after the game," he said.

"Because I understand how upset the fans were feeling this game, I made some comments that were immediately after the game. I want to congratulate Millwall for the performance and now we have to think regarding our side.

"We have to react immediately. We have the chance to do it and obtain as soon as possible our first objective. This is what I wanted to say. We want to do it in the most positive manner."

The Italian was one of several managers to rotate his playing squad. With a round of midweek league fixtures coming so soon after the fourth round, Mazzarri insists he was left with no choice but to prioritise the league game.

"You have to make a decision and think about the Premier League. It's a matter of logic knowing that after two days we have an important game," he said.

"When you don't win, of course you always reflect on different possibilities.

"Due to our situation, given injuries and that there are just two days until the next game, the manager makes the decision of putting the best possible team out in that moment."

The Hornets expect to have new signing M'Baye Niang available against the Gunners, after his recent arrival from AC Milan.

The French forward joined on loan until the end of the season but, although he did not receive international clearance in time to feature against Millwall, he is likely to play some part against Arsenal.

Mazzarri added: "He is available (Niang). He will probably come with us.

"He hasn't been training a lot with the team but he is a player we can utilise in the game."

Fellow new signing Mauro Zarate remains suspended following a red card in Italy, while Jose Holebas serves the final match of a ban of his own and Costel Pantillimon is out for up to four weeks having suffered a leg injury on Sunday.

Press Association

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