Beppe Sannino admits he couldn’t have dreamed of facing Manchester City in the FA Cup two months ago – let alone when he was working as a janitor in a psychiatric hospital in the early 1990s.
Manchester City are the country’s form team, have scored 106 goals already this season and have averaged four goals a game at home during the 2013/14 campaign.
It is a daunting task but Watford’s head coach has earned the right to enjoy his dream trip to the Etihad Stadium tomorrow.
Sannino’s meteoric rise is an inspiring one and after spending all of his playing days and most of his time coaching in the lower leagues of Italian football, he now has the chance to face one of the biggest clubs in Europe in the oldest competition in the world.
Sannino worked for five years as a janitor at a psychiatric hospital and then another five at a civic hospital whilst coaching children in Italy.
Even after he stopped cleaning hospital toilets and wards, he still spent more than a decade working in the Italian lower leagues before earning a place in the top flight with Siena in 2011.
When asked if he’d dreamt of facing a club like Manchester City in the prestigious FA Cup when working in the hospitals less than 20 years ago, Sannino replied: “Impossible. I never dreamed that it could happen. It is unbelievable and incredible and I want to enjoy the day with everyone.
“I want to have a good mind without pressure. This is a game that is a gift for us.”
He added: “It is the most wonderful and beautiful match [I have been involved with] because two months ago I would never had dreamed I would be at Manchester City.
“So someone decided that for me and I am very happy to be there.”
Sannino could be considered as a tactician and refused to disclose how he planned to stop City, stating “you will have to wait and see on Saturday”.
He is keen for his players to enjoy the experience and believes they could fare better than the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, who both lost by four goals or more, if they are motivated enough.
Sannino said: “Manchester City have scored more than 100 goals this season and I am sure my colleagues in the Premier League have tried to stop them.
“But I think we should take the possibility to have a good time. Football is still football so I want my players still to have dreams and belief.”
He continued: “What I believe is that the difference will be achieved by player’s motivation. When my players are on the pitch they will forget the level between the Championship and Premier League.
“They will be focussed on the opposition. My players should have in their mind that the man they are facing is an unbelievable player but at the end of the game I am hoping people are talking about Watford players doing a good job.”