Mazzarri feels secure despite Stoke defeat

Peter Crouch scoring Stoke City's second goal. It was only his second league goal of the season, but enough to condemn Watford to a 2-0 defeat, their sixth in eight games.
Peter Crouch scoring Stoke City's second goal. It was only his second league goal of the season, but enough to condemn Watford to a 2-0 defeat, their sixth in eight games.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Walter Mazzarri admitted Watford are in a state of "total emergency" as his injury-stricken team fell to their sixth defeat in eight games, losing 0-2 to Stoke City in the English Premier League on Wednesday.

Goals from Ryan Shawcross and Peter Crouch enabled Stoke to cruise to their second victory in six weeks against opponents bedevilled by injuries to nine players - including Roberto Pereyra, Juan Zuniga, Nordin Amrabat, Isaac Success, Daryl Janmaat and Valon Behrami.

However, Mazzarri does not fear for his job as Watford's manager, because he claims there is a consensus at the club to build for the future.

Mid-table momentum can be everything at this stage of the Premier League season and, while Stoke won for the first time in a month, a fifth successive away defeat continued Watford's alarming nosedive.

"I don't feel under pressure, because I speak with our owner (Gino Pozzo) every day," Mazzarri said.

"We know our objectives and we are not here just looking at the next five or six matches, we are looking together for the next three years.

"The important thing is to keep fighting. Our fans understood the moment we're in and they supported us until the end and this is very important for us."

The Italian also admitted it was a gamble to recall Behrami from a hamstring injury but insisted: "Because of the total emergency we are in, I took responsibility to make Behrami play."

Mazzarri is the eighth manager to work at Vicarage Road under the club's Italian owner Pozzo, whose family took over in 2012.

Even though Stoke started a point worse off than Watford and were without a win in five matches, their approach reflected far better spirit.

Mark Hughes' side have now moved up to 11th on 24 points, two ahead of 14th placed Watford.

It ended a disappointing run for Stoke, after they conceded four goals to both Liverpool and Chelsea in their last two games and looked in danger of being sucked into the relegation battle.

"It wasn't a great game, but we had better quality because we took the game away from them," Hughes said.

"We have played better and been beaten in recent weeks, we got goals at good times and then saw the game out quite comfortably."

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2017, with the headline 'Mazzarri feels secure despite Stoke defeat'. Print Edition | Subscribe