Tuesday 23 January 2018

Walter Mazzarri says Watford are not distracted by off-field allegations

Walter Mazzarri's Watford side overcame Hull 1-0
Walter Mazzarri's Watford side overcame Hull 1-0

Watford boss Walter Mazzarri saw his side steal a late victory over struggling Hull before again insisting the off-field allegations surrounding the club are not affecting his players.

Michael Dawson scored an unfortunate own goal with just eight minutes remaining to give the Hornets a 1-0 win which lifted them to seventh in the Premier League, while Hull have now lost their last six league outings.

The game was largely forgettable but the victory extended Watford's best start to a Premier League season, despite potential English Football League sanctions hanging over the club.

Watford are under investigation by the EFL following allegations made by the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday.

They centre on Gino Pozzo's sole takeover of the club in 2014, when he assumed complete control from his father Giampaolo, and the alleged use of a forged banking letter.

Watford, who are also carrying out their own independent investigation into the matter, could face a fine or a points deduction if the claims are proven to be accurate.

This was not a classic display from his side but Mazzarri said it had nothing to do with any off-field matters.

"Believe me when I tell you that you that inside the club we are very calm," he said.

"When we prepared for this game we didn't even think about what was in the newspaper, my job and the players' job is to work on the pitch, that is what we do, not even one player has asked me about it."

With Hull's defence seemingly delicate heading into the game having lost their last five league matches with an aggregate score of 19-3, it was perhaps unsurprising that Watford went on the attack in the opening half hour.

Younes Kaboul cracked a header against the crossbar and Roberto Pereyra clipped the outside of the post with a curling effort - leaving Mazzarri purring over how his side set about their task.

"At the beginning we did a great 30 minutes when we played beautiful and the way I want my team to play every game," he added.

"We were very unlucky not to score one or two goals at the beginning, when we didn't score the team could not hold the same performance or energy for 90 minutes. At the end of the day I think there is no doubt about who deserved the victory.

"I always believed it even though in the second half they had a couple of counter-attacks and we risked that they could have scored.

"We controlled it and created a great amount of chances, we had to be more precise with the last pass and it would not have been reality if they had won the game in the end."

Hull remained inside the bottom three and without a league win since August 20, but it could have been different had Abel Hernandez been able to beat Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes when through on goal.

Instead it was another difficult day for Mike Phelan as his skipper Dawson inadvertently deflected Daryl Janmaat's wayward shot into his own goal, and the former Manchester United assistant has still yet to take a point since his permanent appointment as Hull boss on October 13.

"We keep believing, we keep working, analysing where we can get better in order to improve," Phelan said.

"We are on the back of a few heavy defeats, what is good is that we didn't suffer another heavy defeat.

"We didn't open ourselves up to more goals, we were strong in the defensive side of it.

"Just before they scored we had a great opportunity, we didn't take it and paid the consequences. We have got to do more and do better with the ball in the final-third, it will come."

Press Association

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