Beppe Sannino’s reign as Watford’s head coach is in serious doubt; with the Italian today refusing to state whether he believes he has lost the support of the dressing room.
The Watford Observer reported last night that several first team players are unhappy with the Italian and that it was not only due to a lack of game time.
We understand Sannino’s aggressive manner around the training ground has upset a number of the senior players and they are unhappy with the way he communicates with the squad.
Sannino fielded several difficult questions from the Watford Observer this afternoon and whilst he addressed some issues head on, he twice refused to state whether he believed he still had the players’ backing.
“How many matches have we played?” Sannino initially responded. “We have only played three league matches and think about the situation after three games. I think the players are intelligent and I know that the players know which way we must go."
When Sannino was again asked if he had the support of the players, he replied: "I think we have a team which must reach one target as a club and they are working towards this."
The point that some of the Watford players were unhappy with his style of management was made to Sannino this afternoon.
But was it something he was aware of?
"I think that a coach should not be the gaffer for six or seven players. He has to be the gaffer for all and the players have to be players,” Sannino replied.
"I don't want to be a gaffer that is good for five or six players and not good for the rest of the players. I am Beppe Sannino and I am this coach and I want to always be like that.
"These players [who are unhappy] are not good for my style of management. Tell them and the fans that my office is there and if they are not happy with the situation then they should come to talk to me."
Asked if any of the players had voiced their concerns to him, Sannino added: "I think that my style and my way is to be passionate and maybe when I speak with my team I can shout and my voice is loud.
“I know that some players are surprised by this but this is my style and I have always been like that and I believe I have made two or three steps towards the players.
“But if there are players who think differently then they can speak to me and I will try to find a better solution to help."
A number of the squad who would consider themselves to be first team players have found game time hard to come by this season and Sannino recognised that has been difficult.
One of the most interesting responses from Sannino came when he was asked if he knew his best XI.
He said: “In my head I have the players who are more functional for my football but I am one man, I am one papi, I am one brother and I am one d**khead.
“I help all. I help everybody with my character. I am always ready for all my players and my club. I am Beppe Sannino. I am this character.
"I am like that and me being like that means there is a guarantee to everybody that my decisions will be the best picks for everybody and made with fairness. I will always look at the other players around the club."
Watford’s owners, the Pozzo family, expect the club to challenge for automatic promotion this season after a disappointing campaign last time out, when the Golden Boys capitulated in the final three games to finish in 13th place.
The Pozzos have strengthened the Hornets squad considerably but the downside to that has been that several ‘first team’ players have been left out of the squad on each match-day.
Two of the players who have yet to figure in the Championship this season have been fans’ favourites Cristian Battocchio and Sean Murray, who made 41 and 39 appearances respectively for the club last season.
Asked about the pair, Sannino explained: "You know I have 24 players in my squad and I can only pick 18 [in a squad]. Every match in the stands there are six or seven players and I do not want to repeat the situation; I can only pick 18 players and I apologise to the other players."
On Battocchio he continued: "I have to apologise to Battocchio because he is a little, big man and I would like you to make sure this goes in the newspaper because Battocchio is a very good player but in this situation I must pick [other players] and I am sorry for him and the other players. They all deserve to play in the match but I can only pick 18 players."
Sannino refused to answer directly whether he thought the squad was too big, simply stating: "This squad is big and I work with this squad now and in the future."
The odds on Sannino being the next Championship manager to leave their club was slashed from 40/1 to 3/1 during the course of tonight according to Oddschanger.
Sannino ended his interview with the Watford Observer this afternoon but saying: "Do you want a gaffer that stays sitting down on the bench or do you want a gaffer who has heart, big balls and is shouting? The future will tell."