Beppe Sannino suggested Lloyd Dyer and Lewis McGugan’s exclusion from Watford’s squad this afternoon was simply down to their large squad but would not state explicitly that Dyer’s angry celebration on Tuesday wasn’t a factor.
Dyer had been one of the Hornets’ best players after coming on a substitute in the two matches prior to today’s 4-1 victory over Leeds United. Whilst McGugan was a regular starter until this week but has since been left out of both squads – this afternoon’s and Tuesday’s at Rotherham United.
We understand there were disagreements between Sannino and some of the club’s senior players this week.
Dyer, who has yet to start a Championship game for Watford since joining from Leicester City, marked his goal on Tuesday night by running halfway across the pitch and shouting angrily at Sannino.
Both Dyer and McGugan were left out of the 18-man squad this afternoon and watched on from the Graham Taylor Stand.
Today’s post-match press conference started with head of medical Marco Cesarini stating Sannino would be answering questions in Italian and would be translated by Cesarini to avoid any misunderstanding – the first time that has been the case this season.
On Dyer and McGugan’s exclusion, Sannino said: “I am rotating and my picks are based on what I see during the week. You could ask me the same question about two different players not involved today because I have a large squad. Every game I have to leave players out.”
When asked he would confirm that Dyer’s celebration at Rotherham had nothing to do with his absence in the 18-man squad, Sannino replied: “I did not see the celebration. But this belongs to the past and I don’t want to talk about that.
“We have two games on Tuesday and Saturday and I need all my players.”
Earlier this week we reported that several senior players were unhappy with Sannino and his style of management, and it was partly why the head coach’s future is in doubt.
It was put to Sannino this evening that the resounding win over Leeds was needed due to the speculation of player unrest this week.
Via Cesarini, Sannino said: “I am sorry; I would like to only speak about the game today. It has been two or three days where there have been a lot of rumours. But this was a situation [sic] but I can’t, I don’t want to, comment because anything [sic] true.”
When asked to clarify the final sentence of his quote, Cesarini just said: “It was a situation. I would like to speak about the game today.”
Watford were eventually convincing winners this afternoon but the score was 1-1 when Leeds were reduced to ten men with 33 minutes remaining, which led to Troy Deeney putting his side in front from the penalty spot.
Fernando Forestieri made it 3-1 with a fine solo effort on 67 minutes and then Daniel Tozser added a fourth goal in injury-time, moments before Leeds were reduced to nine men.
Sannino said: “The result was fair today even if it [the winning margin] was too large today. Leeds are a good team and they played well first half.
“The goal we conceded was an own goal and I was happy with our performance.”
Forestieri was the star of the show with two goals and an excellent display, in what was his first start in the Championship this season.
Sannino said: “Maybe nobody was expecting he would start the game but I have a group of very good players and very good people and I need to rotate because I want to see all my players on the pitch.”
He clarified: “Starting Forestieri was not a late decision and the starting XI was clear in my mind.”
Vydra has been in the line-up ahead of Forestieri for the previous Championship matches.
He suffered a dead leg on Tuesday night and was a doubt for today’s contest.
The Czech Republic international was on the bench against Leeds and Sannino was asked if the striker was 100 per cent fit.
He responded: “For this game I selected the two strikers who could be more powerful for this game.
“Don’t forget we have five strikers and you know Vydra used to always play here in the past. Because I have five strikers, I have to rotate them and I choose based on the opposition I have to face. Today Forestieri was very good.”
Sannino stated on several occasions that he currently plans to rotate his players, whereas last season he would often play a similar XI each week.
The Italian explained: “In August, since the start of the season, we have to play seven games in 20 days and in this particular moment we have to rotate the players. When the matches are just every Saturday then we may make other decisions because we have more time to recover.”
Sannino was also asked about Leeds’ second red card. United boss Dave Hockaday claims he didn’t see the incident but stated he was told there had been no contact when Daniel Pudil went down clutching his face following an alleged head-butt by Sam Byram.
Sannino said: “I was looking at the ball and I didn’t see but it was the linesman who called the referee over so I think he saw something.”
“I haven’t asked Daniel about it,” he added.