Mazzarri: Players were affected on 'very emotional' day but Watford deserved win

14 January 2017 09:53

Watford boss Walter Mazzarri believes the emotion felt at the club following Graham Taylor's death affected his players in their goalless draw against Middlesbrough.

Taylor, viewed by Watford as the greatest manager in the club's history, died suddenly on Thursday following a suspected heart attack at the age of 72.

The club paid a glowing tribute to Taylor ahead of Saturday's fixture which culminated in a rousing one-minute applause prior to kick-off.

A number of home supporters - many of whom had laid flowers, shirts and scarves at Vicarage Road - and Taylor's widow Rita, were reduced to tears as the former England manager's name echoed around the stadium.

"It was very emotional for all of us," said Mazzarri. "This was due to the passing away of this great person that made the history of Watford Football Club.

"The first half we were less brilliant and it could have been due to this emotion. In the second half we played much better and we deserved the win."

The build-up to Watford's clash against Middlesbrough was dominated by Taylor, who enjoyed two hugely successful periods at the club.

In his first tenure he guided the Hornets from the Fourth Division to the top flight and their first, and what remains, their only FA Cup final. Following stints at Aston Villa and latterly England, Taylor returned to take Watford from the Championship back to the Premier League.

"When there was a one-minute applause I was very emotional," Mazzarri added. "It made me think about different things of my past.

"In the last days I read a lot about all he did as a manager and it made me think about what a manager can give to the fans during his whole career and what kind of emotions he can give. I thought about some personal things because I gave a lot to Napoli.

"I am sorry not to finally dedicate this win for the fans, and for he who is not here today. Of course we would have liked this, but unfortunately it couldn't happen."

Watford enjoyed the best chances of a rather tepid affair, but were unable to find a way past Middlesbrough goalkeeper Victor Valdes.

A chorus of boos rang out around Vicarage Road at the final whistle with Watford now without a victory from their last six Premier League matches.

"It is a good point," admitted Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka. "We were better in the first half and they were better in the second half.

"We knew that it was going to be a difficult game. We tried to play our style in the first half, but in the second we knew that they are a strong and mature team and the only thing we could do was to defend.

"We have problems with teams like Watford where they play long balls, with strong players up front, but we were really good today."

Source: PA