Beppe Sannino believes tomorrow’s match with Udinese will show whether Watford are ready for their Championship opener with Bolton Wanderers the following week.
The Hornets were very poor for a large part of their friendly match with League One Coventry City on Wednesday night and suffered their first defeat of the summer, losing 1-0.
Watford improved in the second half but still struggled to break down a young City side and were often restricted to long range efforts.
“Now my team must think about their work and on Saturday there is a match with more probability of seeing if my team are ready or still not ready [for the start of the season],” Sannino said afterwards.
“I hope every time that my team will be more improved. Saturday is an important test for me to see the level that we have reached.”
Sannino made seven changes at half-time and used 21 players in total.
Star striker Troy Deeney was again on the bench and was used wide right when introduced at the interval.
The head coach dismissed the suggestion Deeney’s role in recent friendlies had been influenced by the 26-year-old’s future, with several Premier League clubs interested.
Asked about Deeney playing out wide, Sannino said: “For me this match was the last game where I will put on all of my players.
“It was important [all the players played] because they have worked hard.
“Against Udinese the players will play for almost 90 minutes.”
On Saturday, after the Golden Boys’ 5-0 victory over St Albans, Sannino claimed he didn’t have a first-choice line-up and said every player had the potential to be included in his starting XI on the opening day of the Championship season next week.
On Wednesday he added: “My ideas [on selection] are more clearer now but I have to give all the players the right attention and they must all think they can play in the first match.”
The point was made to Sannino that the Hornets struggled to keep possession against Coventry and he was asked if he hoped they would keep the ball better when facing Udinese and then Bolton on the opening day.
He replied: “I would like to win and for sure with more possession, with the players faster and with the players getting behind the defence more.”
Watford again lined up in a 4-3-3 at Meadow Park in midweek and started Saturday’s game with that formation.
Sannino explained: “We have tried two systems. My team know 3-5-2 from last season and we tried another system because we have important players in attacking positions and it is right to try.
“For the first official match we will see the best system for my team.”
Tommie Hoban was again deployed at right-back on Saturday and was used on the left versus Coventry.
He again impressed at St Albans as he created the second goal for Ranegie, was comfortable in possession and defended well.
Speaking about Hoban at the weekend, Sannino said: “It’s important to do that and playing in different positions is good for my players. It gives me and the team more possibilities.”