Belfast Telegraph

Walter Mazzarri: Premier League stint the same as those I had in Italy

Walter Mazzarri has discovered the Premier League's competitive nature means managing Watford is no different to taking charge of Napoli or Inter Milan.

The experienced 55-year-old took his first job in England this season and has led the Hornets to 11th place in the Premier League table ahead of Saturday's trip to Sunderland, where he will pit his wits against Black Cats boss David Moyes.

The two include illustrious clubs with Champions League pedigree on the respective CVs but meet in the north east with survival in England instead paramount for their current teams.

However, Mazzarri believes the fact this country's top flight is more open from top to bottom has ensured his time in Hertfordshire is not too dissimilar to his spells in Naples and Milan.

"Being in the Premier League this year is a valuable experience in any case because there are so many top-level managers running all the teams, not just the big ones," the Italian said.

"All matches, as we have seen, can be absolutely engaging in any case, and therefore I personally don't feel much of a difference if I compare this experience to my time as a manager of a top-level team such as Napoli and Inter, as my involvement is comparable.

"And I think the same applies to Moyes. It is the Premier League context that makes the difference and makes you feel important, here you feel that you have a chance to win even against the leading teams.

"Moreover, I had already managed in the past some other intermediate and lower-level football clubs, so I don't have any issues with this.

"What represents a novelty and a challenge for me is the fact of being here, rather than the ranking of the team."

Mazzarri's counterpart in the dugout on Saturday is unique in that of the seven British bosses currently in charge of Premier League sides, he is the only one to have managed overseas when he took the reins at Real Sociedad prior to his Sunderland stint.

The consensus that experienced garnered away from Britain would be beneficial to coaches from these shores is not one Mazzarri necessarily subscribes to, though.

"I believe that when a manager is competent, he can do his job well wherever he is," he argued.

"For sure Moyes is good in his job, but the reason for this is not that he has also worked abroad, and the same applies to me.

"I believe the way football is, from the point of view of the manager, stays the same in whatever country he works. There are no huge differences."

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