Belfast Telegraph

Q&A on Walter Mazzarri's Watford exit

Watford have announced that Walter Mazzarri will step down as the club's manager at the end of the season.

The 55-year-old Italian, formerly the manager of Inter Milan and Napoli, leaves the Hornets after just one year in charge.

Here, Press Association Sport examines the key questions behind his departure.

Was the writing on the wall?

Mazzarri's predecessor Quique Sanchez Flores was shown the door at Watford despite guiding them to 13th in their first season back in the Premier League since 2008. They also reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, too. Mazzarri was given the assurance of a three-year contract, but although he recorded a 3-1 victory against Manchester United in September following a promising start to his tenure, Watford struggled for consistency throughout Mazzarri's campaign. Indeed they host Manchester City on Sunday on the back of five consecutive defeats.

How will he be remembered at Watford?

Mazzarri, who spoke through an interpreter during his time in charge at Watford despite taking English lessons, will rue a host of injuries to his squad. But, in truth, his failure to connect with either the players or the club's supporters during his ill-fated time in charge was the main contributor to his downfall. His negative tactics did not endear him to the Vicarage Road faithful either, while club captain Troy Deeney, hugely popular with the Watford supporters, has been in and out of the side in recent weeks.

Will the players be sad to see him go?

It is no secret that Mazzarri was largely unpopular within the Watford dressing room following his hard-line training methods, limited grasp of English, and the recent axing of Deeney. Indeed the news that he will not be in charge of Watford next season emerged after it was claimed that a host of key players would quit the club in the summer if the Italian did not leave.

Why does the Pozzo family have such a rapid turnover of managers?

Mazzarri is the seventh manager to be hired - and then fired - since the Pozzo family took over the club in 2012. The likes of Gianfranco Zola, Slavisa Jokanovic, and Flores have all fallen by the wayside, while Billy McKinlay resigned after just eight days in charge of the club back in 2014. The Pozzos' cut-throat approach, although widely criticised, will however, see Watford play in the Premier League for a third successive season next term, while they have poured millions of their own money into the club, too.

Who will replace Mazzarri?

Claudio Ranieri, who was sacked by Leicester just nine months after guiding them to the Premier League title, former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini and Marco Silva, the Portuguese in charge of Hull, have all been linked to the soon-to-be vacant post. But will the Pozzo family's rapid turnover of managers be off-putting to a top-line candidate?

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