Sean Murray claims Beppe Sannino has already shown he “has a lot of love” for Watford and his job during the Italian’s first three weeks in charge.
Sannino may not be able to speak English but his passion is evident despite the language barrier, as the animated head coach has shown on the sidelines.
“Yes he is passionate,” Murray confirmed. “He has a lot of love for the club and a lot of love in his job.
“He wants to win every game and he says to us that he wants us to have the best for ourselves – more than for him – so he is a passionate guy and he loves seeing the team doing well.”
Gianfranco Zola was also passionate about his job as Watford’s head coach but Murray’s two most recent bosses appear to be very different when it comes to their outlook on football. Zola’s priority seemed to be for his team to outplay the opposition by focusing on their own possession-based style of play, whereas Sannino is keen for his team to build from the back defensively, be tactically disciplined and then look to play attacking football.
On the difference between the two head coaches, Murray said: “For me, the way we play defensively means we are very organised. We were organised under Zola but Sannino likes to put it into practice so it becomes second nature in the games.
“In training we do a lot of tactical work and shape work so now everyone knows where they need to be, what players are closing down where and who is covering. So organisation would be the main thing (difference).
“We are still playing good football and creating chances so not too much has changed but at the moment we have a lot of confidence coming into games and that is helping us.”
Murray made his professional debut as a 17-year-old in the final game of the 2010/11 season and the last match of Malky Mackay’s reign – the 3-1 defeat away to Preston North End.
The then second-year scholar was unable to break into the side initially under Sean Dyche but proved why he was a target for Manchester City as a 16-year-old during the second half of that campaign, with seven goals in 18 outings from midfield.
Murray started six of Zola’s first seven league games in charge but only made two more starts during last season, as the club also attempted to use him as a right wing-back.
But the creative midfielder has previously admitted he didn’t return from the 2012 summer break in the best shape or perform well at the start of that season.
So in the summer he decided to attend a one-on-one, ten-day training camp at the FA’s St George's Park with Michael Johnson Performance, a company which was set up by the iconic sprinter and run by top American coaches.
It was sprint-based work but it also helped Murray improve his overall fitness ahead of the new campaign.
He said: “I think to get the season started early and get into the swing of things has helped me progress.
“I have been playing a few games now and I feel very good about myself.
“It definitely paid off and it is still helping me now.”
Murray wasn’t in the team for the first three league matches this season but he has since helped fill the void left by Almen Abdi, playing in 21 of the Hornets’ last 25 games.
“I am enjoying my football a lot more,” he admitted. “I am playing a lot more games and I feel a lot better about playing.
“It is definitely a good time for me at the moment and now it is time for us to get the team higher up the league.”
Murray has played a number of positions in recent years, for the first team, reserves and youth side. He has been used in a two and three-man centre midfield, on the left, as a number ten and a wing back.
This season he has been playing as one of the more attacking options in the midfield three and he said: “For me I think that is my best position now. Last season I was adapting to it and finding out new things about it.
“Zola taught me a lot about playing that position and now it is coming together. That is definitely my best position.”
Whilst Murray’s form has improved this season, that hasn’t been the case for Watford, as they have slipped to 14th in the Championship and 17 points away from the automatic promotion places.
Sannino has helped shore up Watford’s leaky defence and the team have only conceded twice in their last four matches.
When asked if he thinks the Hornets will continue to improve, Murray replied: “I think so. Everyone wants to impress the new manager and everyone is working hard to do the things he wants so it can only get better from now on.”
He added: “We had a few blips, a few bad games and a few bad runs but considering the players we have – and we have players to come into the team as well – then I think that [the play-offs] is definitely the aim.
“We are not too far away (Watford are six points below the play-off places) and if we carry on playing the same way and with the same confidence then we won’t be too far away.”