Captain Manuel Almunia admits Watford may be lacking 'characters' and says players must be 'willing to die'

Watford Observer: Almunia admits Watford may be lacking 'characters' Almunia admits Watford may be lacking 'characters'

Manuel Almunia believes Watford’s dressing room may be lacking strong ‘characters’ and has stated his teammates must be “willing to die” on the pitch if they are to succeed in England.

Almunia has spent time at the top of his sport and shared an Arsenal dressing room with world-class players such as Sol Campbell, Patrick Viera, Thierry Henry, Robin Van Persie and Dennis Bergkamp – to name a few.

The experienced goalkeeper arrived at Highbury the summer after the Gunners went the whole 2003/04 season unbeaten – a feat which has not been repeated – so he knows what it is like to play in a dressing room with strong personalities and characters.

The departures of John Eustace and Jonathan Hogg saw two vocal players leave Watford in the summer and experienced professionals such as Nyron Nosworthy and Fitz Hall have also been absent on match days for most of the season due to injury and not being under contract.

When the Golden Boys’ captain was asked whether the Hornets have lacked big personalities and players with a vocal presence this season, he replied: “Yes probably. Any characters on the pitch are appreciated. You can never have too much character on the pitch.

“I always say to the players that they should be the boss on the pitch because it makes you play better and it makes the people around you play better. When you are on form, everyone else ends up being the same.

“People have to say ‘I am here and you are not passing through’. We need people who talk a lot on the pitch and people who are aggressive because football is not only about people with quality playing on the grass, it is much more.”

Watford have an abundance of technically-gifted players from the continent but Almunia agreed that English football requires more aggression and character than other leagues in Europe.

He explained: “Football in England is played with the heart and not only with the feet. You need a hot heart on the pitch and the cold hearted do not survive in England. That is what I have felt in the ten years I have been here.

“You have to be willing to die [on the pitch] and give everything you have. You have to go home exhausted.”

Watford’s dressing room is now multi-national and includes several players who are not fluent in English.

But Almunia has stressed the importance of all the players learning the language and being together as a squad.

He said: “Football is not only about what happens on the pitch; it is off the pitch as well. We are part of a group and everybody needs to take part in everything.

“The people who do not speak the language, try to speak the language, practice every day, and it is the little things which help make a good group. But every single player has to put a bit of themselves in for things to work.”

Almunia believes Watford are under more pressure this season compared to last and stressed it comes from the players themselves rather than externally.

He described last season as “unfinished” and stated the psychological demands of wanting to be around the promotion places again is “a nice pressure that everybody wants”.

When he was asked if the other players were struggling to deal with the pressure this season, after playing with so much freedom during the 2012/13 campaign, Almunia replied: “I am not in the head of every player. It would be nice for the players to express how they feel because it would help us to cope with the pressure together.

“But everyone is different and I don’t know how they feel if they do not speak.”

Almunia believes Watford have a man in charge, in Beppe Sannino, who knows how to handle a diverse dressing room.

“What I like about him is the way he motivates the players,” Almunia said. “He has a lot of character and he knows perfectly how to manage the dressing room. I like the way he motivates the players.

“All players are different. Some have more character and some are more laid back; he knows who needs a push from the back and he does this very well.”

Sannino is a tactician who likes to spend time working on drills at the training ground and it appears to be paying off. Watford have only conceded three goals in Sannino’s first six games in charge, compared to ten in the six matches prior to his arrival in England.

Almunia said: “The new manager likes to work on the shape of the team and defending set pieces. We work a lot on this and in the end you can see more of a difference.

“This manager is very disciplined. We work a lot on the training ground and everybody wants to impress the new manager to show they should be on the pitch every week.”

He added: “In the last few games everybody has been more focused than before. I think we are under more pressure to do well because of where we are in the table and because of what happened with the former manager (Gianfranco Zola).

“Everybody is feeling more pressure than last season and now we are defending better and we have positive things to take from the last few games.”

Comments (20)

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12:30pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Harry's Bar says...

You can only ask in others what you can deliver yourself. As captain and goalkeeper I'm just not sure Almunia comes across as a very strong character.
You can only ask in others what you can deliver yourself. As captain and goalkeeper I'm just not sure Almunia comes across as a very strong character. Harry's Bar
  • Score: -22

12:38pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Hornet Cornet says...

Where's Eustace when you need him?

HC
Where's Eustace when you need him? HC Hornet Cornet
  • Score: -20

12:57pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Wooter bout that! says...

Not the right choice for captain.
Not the right choice for captain. Wooter bout that!
  • Score: -2

1:03pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Abbotshorn says...

my personal choice would either be Angella or Ekstrand, until Abdi returns who is a natural leader
my personal choice would either be Angella or Ekstrand, until Abdi returns who is a natural leader Abbotshorn
  • Score: 14

1:06pm Fri 17 Jan 14

thepriceisnickywright says...

Abbotshorn wrote:
my personal choice would either be Angella or Ekstrand, until Abdi returns who is a natural leader
Why is he a natural leader? Because he scores goals and creates chances? That makes him a good player. He is no leader. He doesn't shout and encourage and get his team mates going. Yes he leads by example but isn't captain material. We don't really have anyone who I would call captain material. Almunia is unfortunately the closest we have and he's our keeper. When Bond replaces him, what then?
[quote][p][bold]Abbotshorn[/bold] wrote: my personal choice would either be Angella or Ekstrand, until Abdi returns who is a natural leader[/p][/quote]Why is he a natural leader? Because he scores goals and creates chances? That makes him a good player. He is no leader. He doesn't shout and encourage and get his team mates going. Yes he leads by example but isn't captain material. We don't really have anyone who I would call captain material. Almunia is unfortunately the closest we have and he's our keeper. When Bond replaces him, what then? thepriceisnickywright
  • Score: 24

1:18pm Fri 17 Jan 14

HornetJJ says...

Almunia is experienced in English football and is multi-lingual so it does make sense for him to be captain.
Almunia is experienced in English football and is multi-lingual so it does make sense for him to be captain. HornetJJ
  • Score: 22

1:36pm Fri 17 Jan 14

hemelhorn87 says...

I'm never a fan of a keeper as captain but anyone questioning Almunia's leadership obviously doesn't have a clue! He's vocal, he talks not only to his centre backs but to the CMs and Troy whenever he can! The best leader in a team where admittedly we struggle for leaders. Nos and Fitz aren't leaders either! To be fair the closest thing we have would be Ekstrand or Angella but I believe having Almunia as Captain hasn't harmed us! The sooner Abdi gets back to regular starts the better!
I'm never a fan of a keeper as captain but anyone questioning Almunia's leadership obviously doesn't have a clue! He's vocal, he talks not only to his centre backs but to the CMs and Troy whenever he can! The best leader in a team where admittedly we struggle for leaders. Nos and Fitz aren't leaders either! To be fair the closest thing we have would be Ekstrand or Angella but I believe having Almunia as Captain hasn't harmed us! The sooner Abdi gets back to regular starts the better! hemelhorn87
  • Score: 15

1:46pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Dino1982 says...

In the Italian papers its saying today that Torino are looking and want Davide Faroani from Watford.

Good players would be a shame to see him go too.
In the Italian papers its saying today that Torino are looking and want Davide Faroani from Watford. Good players would be a shame to see him go too. Dino1982
  • Score: 15

2:16pm Fri 17 Jan 14

gloryhornet4 says...

Harry's Bar wrote:
You can only ask in others what you can deliver yourself. As captain and goalkeeper I'm just not sure Almunia comes across as a very strong character.
Character - he played on last season when his hamstring was as tight as Alan Sugar's wallet.
[quote][p][bold]Harry's Bar[/bold] wrote: You can only ask in others what you can deliver yourself. As captain and goalkeeper I'm just not sure Almunia comes across as a very strong character.[/p][/quote]Character - he played on last season when his hamstring was as tight as Alan Sugar's wallet. gloryhornet4
  • Score: 8

3:57pm Fri 17 Jan 14

strummerjoe says...

Harry's Bar wrote:
You can only ask in others what you can deliver yourself. As captain and goalkeeper I'm just not sure Almunia comes across as a very strong character.
just rubbish.
[quote][p][bold]Harry's Bar[/bold] wrote: You can only ask in others what you can deliver yourself. As captain and goalkeeper I'm just not sure Almunia comes across as a very strong character.[/p][/quote]just rubbish. strummerjoe
  • Score: 6

4:09pm Fri 17 Jan 14

andyhooked says...

Is Abdi the natural leader we need? He is fluent in 4 languages but is he an Alpha male that can lead the squad? It must be the case that communications between players that are learning english can not be dressing room leaders and those that could be can only speak or understand english can not be leaders when english is such a complicated language full of football speak and english expressions that even Almen must find a bit weird.
Is Abdi the natural leader we need? He is fluent in 4 languages but is he an Alpha male that can lead the squad? It must be the case that communications between players that are learning english can not be dressing room leaders and those that could be can only speak or understand english can not be leaders when english is such a complicated language full of football speak and english expressions that even Almen must find a bit weird. andyhooked
  • Score: 0

4:35pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Loyal Supporter says...

If not Manu, who actually is quite vocal on the pitch, then I'd probably opt for Marco as Captain with the current squad when fit or Almen as another option. Think we need someone strong next season though, who probably isn't at the club now.
If not Manu, who actually is quite vocal on the pitch, then I'd probably opt for Marco as Captain with the current squad when fit or Almen as another option. Think we need someone strong next season though, who probably isn't at the club now. Loyal Supporter
  • Score: 4

5:00pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Sleeping with the enemy says...

andyhooked wrote:
Is Abdi the natural leader we need? He is fluent in 4 languages but is he an Alpha male that can lead the squad? It must be the case that communications between players that are learning english can not be dressing room leaders and those that could be can only speak or understand english can not be leaders when english is such a complicated language full of football speak and english expressions that even Almen must find a bit weird.
Good job you're not captain. I had to read that three or four times to understand it! the game would be well and truely lost by the time you'd barked out your instructions.
[quote][p][bold]andyhooked[/bold] wrote: Is Abdi the natural leader we need? He is fluent in 4 languages but is he an Alpha male that can lead the squad? It must be the case that communications between players that are learning english can not be dressing room leaders and those that could be can only speak or understand english can not be leaders when english is such a complicated language full of football speak and english expressions that even Almen must find a bit weird.[/p][/quote]Good job you're not captain. I had to read that three or four times to understand it! the game would be well and truely lost by the time you'd barked out your instructions. Sleeping with the enemy
  • Score: 5

5:10pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Stoney77 says...

Sleeping with the enemy wrote:
andyhooked wrote:
Is Abdi the natural leader we need? He is fluent in 4 languages but is he an Alpha male that can lead the squad? It must be the case that communications between players that are learning english can not be dressing room leaders and those that could be can only speak or understand english can not be leaders when english is such a complicated language full of football speak and english expressions that even Almen must find a bit weird.
Good job you're not captain. I had to read that three or four times to understand it! the game would be well and truely lost by the time you'd barked out your instructions.
...and with comments like that it's a good job you're not captain too..... not sure many people would like you, or indeed respect you.
[quote][p][bold]Sleeping with the enemy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]andyhooked[/bold] wrote: Is Abdi the natural leader we need? He is fluent in 4 languages but is he an Alpha male that can lead the squad? It must be the case that communications between players that are learning english can not be dressing room leaders and those that could be can only speak or understand english can not be leaders when english is such a complicated language full of football speak and english expressions that even Almen must find a bit weird.[/p][/quote]Good job you're not captain. I had to read that three or four times to understand it! the game would be well and truely lost by the time you'd barked out your instructions.[/p][/quote]...and with comments like that it's a good job you're not captain too..... not sure many people would like you, or indeed respect you. Stoney77
  • Score: 4

5:10pm Fri 17 Jan 14

andyhooked says...

andyhooked wrote:
Is Abdi the natural leader we need? He is fluent in 4 languages but is he an Alpha male that can lead the squad? It must be the case that communications between players that are learning english can not be dressing room leaders and those that could be can only speak or understand english can not be leaders when english is such a complicated language full of football speak and english expressions that even Almen must find a bit weird.
Good job you're not captain. I had to read that three or four times to understand it! the game would be well and truely lost by the time you'd barked out your instructions.

If you can not understand where I am coming from then you aint a leader any way. I was in business and understand people perhaps more than you do, and worked in a multinational community as well. A multi-lingual person knows how to get his message across and not having to think about it. Please think again about your daft posting!!
andyhooked wrote: Is Abdi the natural leader we need? He is fluent in 4 languages but is he an Alpha male that can lead the squad? It must be the case that communications between players that are learning english can not be dressing room leaders and those that could be can only speak or understand english can not be leaders when english is such a complicated language full of football speak and english expressions that even Almen must find a bit weird. Good job you're not captain. I had to read that three or four times to understand it! the game would be well and truely lost by the time you'd barked out your instructions. If you can not understand where I am coming from then you aint a leader any way. I was in business and understand people perhaps more than you do, and worked in a multinational community as well. A multi-lingual person knows how to get his message across and not having to think about it. Please think again about your daft posting!! andyhooked
  • Score: -5

6:31pm Fri 17 Jan 14

mellow yellow says...

andyhooked wrote:
andyhooked wrote:
Is Abdi the natural leader we need? He is fluent in 4 languages but is he an Alpha male that can lead the squad? It must be the case that communications between players that are learning english can not be dressing room leaders and those that could be can only speak or understand english can not be leaders when english is such a complicated language full of football speak and english expressions that even Almen must find a bit weird.
Good job you're not captain. I had to read that three or four times to understand it! the game would be well and truely lost by the time you'd barked out your instructions.

If you can not understand where I am coming from then you aint a leader any way. I was in business and understand people perhaps more than you do, and worked in a multinational community as well. A multi-lingual person knows how to get his message across and not having to think about it. Please think again about your daft posting!!
Have you swallowed rogeruk, I wonder?
[quote][p][bold]andyhooked[/bold] wrote: andyhooked wrote: Is Abdi the natural leader we need? He is fluent in 4 languages but is he an Alpha male that can lead the squad? It must be the case that communications between players that are learning english can not be dressing room leaders and those that could be can only speak or understand english can not be leaders when english is such a complicated language full of football speak and english expressions that even Almen must find a bit weird. Good job you're not captain. I had to read that three or four times to understand it! the game would be well and truely lost by the time you'd barked out your instructions. If you can not understand where I am coming from then you aint a leader any way. I was in business and understand people perhaps more than you do, and worked in a multinational community as well. A multi-lingual person knows how to get his message across and not having to think about it. Please think again about your daft posting!![/p][/quote]Have you swallowed rogeruk, I wonder? mellow yellow
  • Score: 6

6:32pm Fri 17 Jan 14

poole-horn says...

andyhooked wrote:
andyhooked wrote: Is Abdi the natural leader we need? He is fluent in 4 languages but is he an Alpha male that can lead the squad? It must be the case that communications between players that are learning english can not be dressing room leaders and those that could be can only speak or understand english can not be leaders when english is such a complicated language full of football speak and english expressions that even Almen must find a bit weird. Good job you're not captain. I had to read that three or four times to understand it! the game would be well and truely lost by the time you'd barked out your instructions. If you can not understand where I am coming from then you aint a leader any way. I was in business and understand people perhaps more than you do, and worked in a multinational community as well. A multi-lingual person knows how to get his message across and not having to think about it. Please think again about your daft posting!!
You're beginning to sound like RogerUK !
[quote][p][bold]andyhooked[/bold] wrote: andyhooked wrote: Is Abdi the natural leader we need? He is fluent in 4 languages but is he an Alpha male that can lead the squad? It must be the case that communications between players that are learning english can not be dressing room leaders and those that could be can only speak or understand english can not be leaders when english is such a complicated language full of football speak and english expressions that even Almen must find a bit weird. Good job you're not captain. I had to read that three or four times to understand it! the game would be well and truely lost by the time you'd barked out your instructions. If you can not understand where I am coming from then you aint a leader any way. I was in business and understand people perhaps more than you do, and worked in a multinational community as well. A multi-lingual person knows how to get his message across and not having to think about it. Please think again about your daft posting!![/p][/quote]You're beginning to sound like RogerUK ! poole-horn
  • Score: 4

4:34am Sat 18 Jan 14

rogeruk says...

mellow yellow wrote:
andyhooked wrote:
andyhooked wrote:
Is Abdi the natural leader we need? He is fluent in 4 languages but is he an Alpha male that can lead the squad? It must be the case that communications between players that are learning english can not be dressing room leaders and those that could be can only speak or understand english can not be leaders when english is such a complicated language full of football speak and english expressions that even Almen must find a bit weird.
Good job you're not captain. I had to read that three or four times to understand it! the game would be well and truely lost by the time you'd barked out your instructions.

If you can not understand where I am coming from then you aint a leader any way. I was in business and understand people perhaps more than you do, and worked in a multinational community as well. A multi-lingual person knows how to get his message across and not having to think about it. Please think again about your daft posting!!
Have you swallowed rogeruk, I wonder?
I only post when I have something to say, unlike the majority on here who are just wafflers and comment for comments sake.

This site most of the time is a surrogate for the Womens Institute and women gossip.
[quote][p][bold]mellow yellow[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]andyhooked[/bold] wrote: andyhooked wrote: Is Abdi the natural leader we need? He is fluent in 4 languages but is he an Alpha male that can lead the squad? It must be the case that communications between players that are learning english can not be dressing room leaders and those that could be can only speak or understand english can not be leaders when english is such a complicated language full of football speak and english expressions that even Almen must find a bit weird. Good job you're not captain. I had to read that three or four times to understand it! the game would be well and truely lost by the time you'd barked out your instructions. If you can not understand where I am coming from then you aint a leader any way. I was in business and understand people perhaps more than you do, and worked in a multinational community as well. A multi-lingual person knows how to get his message across and not having to think about it. Please think again about your daft posting!![/p][/quote]Have you swallowed rogeruk, I wonder?[/p][/quote]I only post when I have something to say, unlike the majority on here who are just wafflers and comment for comments sake. This site most of the time is a surrogate for the Womens Institute and women gossip. rogeruk
  • Score: -1

7:09am Tue 11 Feb 14

VOReason says...

rogeruk wrote:
mellow yellow wrote:
andyhooked wrote:
andyhooked wrote:
Is Abdi the natural leader we need? He is fluent in 4 languages but is he an Alpha male that can lead the squad? It must be the case that communications between players that are learning english can not be dressing room leaders and those that could be can only speak or understand english can not be leaders when english is such a complicated language full of football speak and english expressions that even Almen must find a bit weird.
Good job you're not captain. I had to read that three or four times to understand it! the game would be well and truely lost by the time you'd barked out your instructions.

If you can not understand where I am coming from then you aint a leader any way. I was in business and understand people perhaps more than you do, and worked in a multinational community as well. A multi-lingual person knows how to get his message across and not having to think about it. Please think again about your daft posting!!
Have you swallowed rogeruk, I wonder?
I only post when I have something to say, unlike the majority on here who are just wafflers and comment for comments sake.

This site most of the time is a surrogate for the Womens Institute and women gossip.
That post is completely contradictory to the point you intend to make, unless you discovered irony yesterday
[quote][p][bold]rogeruk[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]mellow yellow[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]andyhooked[/bold] wrote: andyhooked wrote: Is Abdi the natural leader we need? He is fluent in 4 languages but is he an Alpha male that can lead the squad? It must be the case that communications between players that are learning english can not be dressing room leaders and those that could be can only speak or understand english can not be leaders when english is such a complicated language full of football speak and english expressions that even Almen must find a bit weird. Good job you're not captain. I had to read that three or four times to understand it! the game would be well and truely lost by the time you'd barked out your instructions. If you can not understand where I am coming from then you aint a leader any way. I was in business and understand people perhaps more than you do, and worked in a multinational community as well. A multi-lingual person knows how to get his message across and not having to think about it. Please think again about your daft posting!![/p][/quote]Have you swallowed rogeruk, I wonder?[/p][/quote]I only post when I have something to say, unlike the majority on here who are just wafflers and comment for comments sake. This site most of the time is a surrogate for the Womens Institute and women gossip.[/p][/quote]That post is completely contradictory to the point you intend to make, unless you discovered irony yesterday VOReason
  • Score: 0

7:09am Tue 11 Feb 14

VOReason says...

Hornet Cornet wrote:
Where's Eustace when you need him?

HC
Scoring the winner for derby ... Great pro
[quote][p][bold]Hornet Cornet[/bold] wrote: Where's Eustace when you need him? HC[/p][/quote]Scoring the winner for derby ... Great pro VOReason
  • Score: 0

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