Walter Mazzarri defends Watford team over disciplinary record
An angry Walter Mazzarri has urged the critics to lay off his Watford team after attracting negative attention for their poor disciplinary record this season.
Watford's players have been booked on more occasions than any other team in the Premier League, and committed a greater number of fouls. The Hornets have also accumulated nine yellow cards just for dissent.
Mazzarri's side were reduced to 10 men in the closing stages of their 1-0 defeat against Stoke last Sunday after defender Miguel Britos was dismissed by referee Robert Madley.
But speaking ahead of their trip to West Brom on Saturday, Mazzarri issued a staunch defence of his team.
"I don't want to speak about referees, but if you keep making me notice these situations, I have to, and I want to defend my team," Mazzarri said.
"If a referee makes decisions during the game which for the same foul is a yellow card for one team, and not for the other, this is something that makes us very angry, and this is why we were very, very angry after the last game.
"I want to make something clear. The referee is just like us. He is like another human being and he can make mistakes like everyone.
"But it is very important that the decisions he takes have to be the same. It has to be clear. If he takes one outcome for one team, then it has to be the same for the other."
Despite his defiance, Mazzarri has, however, instructed his players to avoid any confrontation with the officials at the Hawthorns on Saturday.
Watford, eighth in the league, head to West Brom one place above their opponents.
"I have told my players that even if they are right they have to stop protesting," Mazzarri added.
"My team is not dirty and not committing fouls. It is a team that wants to play football. That is what we are doing so I want to avoid getting yellow cards for protesting."