Despite being delayed by the terrible rush-hour traffic on his commute back from the Hornet’s London Colney training ground, new boss Gianfranco Zola was in a buoyant mood as he faced the press for the first time as Watford boss.
The 46 year-old Sardinian took his seat at the top table, flanked by new Technical Director Gian Luca Nani and Chief Executive Officer, Scott Duxbury.
Zola was quick to preach the same message of good, passing football to the assembled media which he had conveyed to his squad earlier in the day:
‘That is the first message I gave to my players. They like it and they are trying very hard to do that, that`s all they want.
‘They have to be encouraged; obviously there will be mistakes at the beginning.
‘Somebody big made many mistakes; missed many shots; missed many important balls; has lost many games but that`s why he became a big players – I’m talking about Michael Jordan. I saw it in the training ground, on the wall in my office and it`s inspirational.’
When asked about the composition of his coaching staff Zola would not reveal any names but was able to confirm that fitness coach Matt Springham and long-serving goalkeeping coach Alec Chamberlain will remain part of the new structure.
After a whirlwind 48 hours, Zola admitted to being ‘tired’ and having had ‘two paracetamol already today’ but revealed his pleasure at being back in the game:
‘I`ve been out for two years and I`ve had a lot of offers. I felt like I needed to take a little bit of times and work on some things. Now I`ve come back strong.’
There was also clarity on the role of Technical Director Nani who will merely help Zola identify targets rather than signing them over the manager’s head as it customary in Spain and Italy.
Asked if he would have autonomy on signings, Zola explained that he would utilise the experience and knowledge of his former West Ham colleague in identifying suitable players to bring to the football club.
Whilst there was no specific mention of new faces, one old face which was mentioned was that of Gianluca Vialli – Zola admitting that he would perhaps ask the former Hornet’s boss for advice:
‘Well it`s been a long time but I will certainly have a word with him. But this is a different experience, a different situation,’ said the Hornet’s new Italian supremo.
Duxbury has just one question to answer, and that was on the future of Adrian Mariappa who he confirmed had not been subject of a bid from Wigan Athletic. The only interest came from Reading and that was before the takeover.
Only a handful of days into the Pozzo family’s tenure and the excitement is palpable. Roll on the 2012/13 season!