New Watford manager Walter Mazzarri says avoiding relegation is the primary target ahead of his first season in English football.
The 54-year-old, who led Napoli to their first major trophy in more than two decades by winning the 2011-12 Coppa Italia, replaced Quique Sanchez Flores in the Vicarage Road hotseat this summer and will be aiming to build on the club’s impressive first season back in the top flight.
However, the former Sampdoria and Inter coach, Watford’s seventh manager in just five seasons, admits that securing survival will be the main aim for his first managerial appointment outside of his native Italy.
“The first objective is to stay in the Premier League,” Mazzarri said via a translator in his pre-match news conference ahead of Watford’s opening clash away at Southampton on Saturday.
“But those who know me know we will work hard and prepare to get as far as we can.
“This, for me, is a new experience and I cannot wait to start. I’m also very curious about the first games. There is also bit of tension but a lot of attention on preparing the games in the right way.”
Despite strengthening Watford’s ranks with a number of summer signings, including versatile Granada attacker Isaac Success, Mazzarri hopes to add further reinforcements before the transfer window shuts at the end of the month.
“There will be two or three new players, yes,” he added. “I don’t want to give names. I will not speak about other club’s players.”
And Mazzarri, who admitted he was delighted with the news that 2015-16 top scorer Odion Ighalo had inked a new five-year contract with the Hornets, said he did not envisage any key players departing last season’s FA Cup semi-finalists .
“If players are professional, behave in the right way and follow me, then there is no reason for them [current players] to leave,” he explained.
“Whoever stays, it is important that he is responsible and works hard for the team.”