Decision not to change formation is an indication of Beppe Sannino's meticulous style

Suited and booted: Beppe Sannino during Watford's 1-1 draw with Bristol City. Picture: Action Images

Suited and booted: Beppe Sannino during Watford's 1-1 draw with Bristol City. Picture: Action Images

First published in Watford FC News by

The most interesting comment made by Watford head coach Beppe Sannino after the game with Bristol City was arguably his response to the question of why he didn't change formation considering the club's injury problems at wing back. It provided real insight into the man and his coaching style.

Before Sannino's arrival in Hertfordshire, it was said the Italian was a tactician and spent a lot of time on drills on the training pitch.

With Ikechi Anya, Davide Faraoni and Daniel Pudil all out injured and Hector Bellerin ineligible, the Golden Boys were down to just one 'recognised' wing back in Marco Cassetti. The likes of Lloyd Doyley and Cristian Battocchio could have filled the wing back void but it is a position they are not used to.

So with Joel Ekstrand featuring at left back in the past and Sean Murray often playing on the left of midfield during his development as a teenager, one would understand if Sannino had opted to use 4-4-2 at Ashton Gate, rather than his favoured 3-5-2.

But when Sannino was asked whether he had considered changing systems, the 56-year-old's answer highlighted just how meticulous he is when preparing for matches.

"You will understand how I am in time," Sannino started. "I like to try things in training sessions; I don’t like to try things in matches.

"I like to give my players the right things (coaching), good stuff.

"I am waiting for a normal week – [where I have the players at the training ground] from Saturday to Saturday - and then I will have time to try different solutions."

So Sannino decided to put his faith in the somewhat square peg of Cristian Battocchio being able to fill the round hole of left wing back - and he did - rather than engineer a complete overhaul by switching formation.

The Hornets have made huge strides defensively in recent weeks but it is clear the passionate Sannino wants more from his players out of possession.

The head coach, who took the phrase suited and booted to a new level at the weekend, is extremely vocal and animated on the touchline.

He was asked whether his passion was an Italian trait at the weekend, with ex-Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio highlighted.

"No it is Sannino’s style, not Di Canio’s style," he responded.

He added: "I hope to be accepted in England, because I am like that (passionate). But I want to be myself. I have always been like that. When I am on the pitch, I am only talking to my guys."

Sannino also mentioned passion after the match; but this time it was that of the supporters.

More than 1,600 Watford fans travelled to the West Country at the weekend and, whilst the 10,165 attendance at Ashton Gate was 1,512 less than City's average in League One, Sannino was still impressed.

The combined attendance for the 29 FA Cup Third Round ties at the weekend was 548,907 - the highest average for this stage of the competition in 34 years.

Sannino said: "It (his first FA Cup experience) was fascinating. I followed this competition from Italy and to see a stadium like that for a League One team, if you compare it to Italy, with the passion and a lot of fans in the crowd, it made it an unforgettable night for me.

"Now I will get to live another night like this because of the replay but hopefully next time I will leave with a smile."

Comments (14)

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8:02am Wed 8 Jan 14

rayman01 says...

I like the man's style. He does not have Zola's pedigree but seems well prepared and low key. Again we need to be patient. Seems to have stopped the defensive rot. Hopefully we can now build and be very positive against Reading. Three points would be a nice start. Luv the Horns!
I like the man's style. He does not have Zola's pedigree but seems well prepared and low key. Again we need to be patient. Seems to have stopped the defensive rot. Hopefully we can now build and be very positive against Reading. Three points would be a nice start. Luv the Horns! rayman01
  • Score: 39

9:12am Wed 8 Jan 14

HornetJJ says...

He sounds like another top bloke with a good attitude. I like him!
He sounds like another top bloke with a good attitude. I like him! HornetJJ
  • Score: 28

9:20am Wed 8 Jan 14

MainStandShambles says...

It's good to see and hear a bit of passion on the touchline from a manager (or head coach!) as i'm sure it keeps the players on their toes far more than the languid style of a 'thinking' coach like Zola. That's not a criticism of Zola's style of touchline behaviour but it was a bit one-dimensional with not enough passion---maybe.
It's good to see and hear a bit of passion on the touchline from a manager (or head coach!) as i'm sure it keeps the players on their toes far more than the languid style of a 'thinking' coach like Zola. That's not a criticism of Zola's style of touchline behaviour but it was a bit one-dimensional with not enough passion---maybe. MainStandShambles
  • Score: 19

9:33am Wed 8 Jan 14

AngelHornet says...

He is getting to grips with the squad very quickly and starting to understand our league. Personally I think he will turn us in to a very good side.

At Bristol I would have liked to have seen Ikpeazu given a run to give us some pace up front, but totally understand his reasons.
He is getting to grips with the squad very quickly and starting to understand our league. Personally I think he will turn us in to a very good side. At Bristol I would have liked to have seen Ikpeazu given a run to give us some pace up front, but totally understand his reasons. AngelHornet
  • Score: 18

9:49am Wed 8 Jan 14

Watfordwes says...

He talks a lot of sense!!!!
He talks a lot of sense!!!! Watfordwes
  • Score: 18

10:56am Wed 8 Jan 14

hawkhorn says...

Totally changing the subject bu what happened to that youngster we signed a few seasons ago who was billed to be a superstar of the future? I can't remember his name but he isn't British and isn't from Udinese.
Totally changing the subject bu what happened to that youngster we signed a few seasons ago who was billed to be a superstar of the future? I can't remember his name but he isn't British and isn't from Udinese. hawkhorn
  • Score: -10

11:22am Wed 8 Jan 14

soulfulhornet says...

For all the 'passion and supposed antics, I think Sannino will prove to be a pragmatic manager and probably a good one. We - the fans - need to give him time. With the hectic Xmas schedule, he has not been able to implement his ideas fully. I would prefer that we postpone an initial judgement until after 12-15 games.
For all the 'passion and supposed antics, I think Sannino will prove to be a pragmatic manager and probably a good one. We - the fans - need to give him time. With the hectic Xmas schedule, he has not been able to implement his ideas fully. I would prefer that we postpone an initial judgement until after 12-15 games. soulfulhornet
  • Score: 13

11:52am Wed 8 Jan 14

D.unstable says...

hawkhorn wrote:
Totally changing the subject bu what happened to that youngster we signed a few seasons ago who was billed to be a superstar of the future? I can't remember his name but he isn't British and isn't from Udinese.
You mean Panos something from Australia....think he was only about 15 when he signed some 18 months back, so still very young to be in and around the suad
[quote][p][bold]hawkhorn[/bold] wrote: Totally changing the subject bu what happened to that youngster we signed a few seasons ago who was billed to be a superstar of the future? I can't remember his name but he isn't British and isn't from Udinese.[/p][/quote]You mean Panos something from Australia....think he was only about 15 when he signed some 18 months back, so still very young to be in and around the suad D.unstable
  • Score: 7

1:15pm Wed 8 Jan 14

soulfulhornet says...

Panos Armenakas is his name, was 15 when signed for the horns in Nov 2012. Has trained as a kid with Ajax, Barcelona and AC Milan, Did well in the Milk Cup for us in the summer. Man U and Chelsea sniffing. Hope we can keep him under wraps.
This is the magic of the Pozzos' scouting system at work (plus Harefield), Can't imagine Bassini, Ashcroft or the Russos being able to pull this master stroke.
Panos Armenakas is his name, was 15 when signed for the horns in Nov 2012. Has trained as a kid with Ajax, Barcelona and AC Milan, Did well in the Milk Cup for us in the summer. Man U and Chelsea sniffing. Hope we can keep him under wraps. This is the magic of the Pozzos' scouting system at work (plus Harefield), Can't imagine Bassini, Ashcroft or the Russos being able to pull this master stroke. soulfulhornet
  • Score: 7

1:56pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Hornet Cornet says...

Nice to see the decision forced by us freedom warriors has placated all you happy clapping zola followers.
Feeble
Nice to see the decision forced by us freedom warriors has placated all you happy clapping zola followers. Feeble Hornet Cornet
  • Score: -28

4:45pm Wed 8 Jan 14

HornetJJ says...

Hornet Cornet wrote:
Nice to see the decision forced by us freedom warriors has placated all you happy clapping zola followers.
Feeble
Just because people didn't want Zola to go doesn't mean we're not going to get behind the new manager. Afterall Zola resigned, he wasn't sacked!
[quote][p][bold]Hornet Cornet[/bold] wrote: Nice to see the decision forced by us freedom warriors has placated all you happy clapping zola followers. Feeble[/p][/quote]Just because people didn't want Zola to go doesn't mean we're not going to get behind the new manager. Afterall Zola resigned, he wasn't sacked! HornetJJ
  • Score: 14

6:26pm Wed 8 Jan 14

rogeruk says...

Hornet Cornet wrote:
Nice to see the decision forced by us freedom warriors has placated all you happy clapping zola followers.
Feeble
HC you're flogging a dead horse, we actually need two sites, one for the foul mouthed cretins and the other for serious and civilized folk.
[quote][p][bold]Hornet Cornet[/bold] wrote: Nice to see the decision forced by us freedom warriors has placated all you happy clapping zola followers. Feeble[/p][/quote]HC you're flogging a dead horse, we actually need two sites, one for the foul mouthed cretins and the other for serious and civilized folk. rogeruk
  • Score: -2

6:46pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Harry's Bar says...

rogeruk wrote:
Hornet Cornet wrote:
Nice to see the decision forced by us freedom warriors has placated all you happy clapping zola followers.
Feeble
HC you're flogging a dead horse, we actually need two sites, one for the foul mouthed cretins and the other for serious and civilized folk.
Which site are you going to be on?
[quote][p][bold]rogeruk[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Hornet Cornet[/bold] wrote: Nice to see the decision forced by us freedom warriors has placated all you happy clapping zola followers. Feeble[/p][/quote]HC you're flogging a dead horse, we actually need two sites, one for the foul mouthed cretins and the other for serious and civilized folk.[/p][/quote]Which site are you going to be on? Harry's Bar
  • Score: 5

7:42pm Wed 8 Jan 14

watfordrick says...

Harry's Bar wrote:
rogeruk wrote:
Hornet Cornet wrote:
Nice to see the decision forced by us freedom warriors has placated all you happy clapping zola followers.
Feeble
HC you're flogging a dead horse, we actually need two sites, one for the foul mouthed cretins and the other for serious and civilized folk.
Which site are you going to be on?
Nice one Harry - like it like it!
[quote][p][bold]Harry's Bar[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]rogeruk[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Hornet Cornet[/bold] wrote: Nice to see the decision forced by us freedom warriors has placated all you happy clapping zola followers. Feeble[/p][/quote]HC you're flogging a dead horse, we actually need two sites, one for the foul mouthed cretins and the other for serious and civilized folk.[/p][/quote]Which site are you going to be on?[/p][/quote]Nice one Harry - like it like it! watfordrick
  • Score: 1

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