Any job is far easier to do, and garners much more praise, when it leads to success.

It doesn’t matter what walk of life you are operating in, life is far rosier and everything feels much better when everything is just tickety boo.

And you can amplify that if what you do is high-profile. Ask countless Prime Ministers, celebrities, rock stars and football managers.

When your stock is high you can sell snow to eskimos – when things start going wrong, you can’t give it away.

Cristiano Giaretta’s first season at Watford as sporting director coincided with promotion to the Premier League, surfing back into the top-flight on the crest of a winning wave after Christmas following a somewhat sticky start.

Of course, as is Watford’s way, there was a change of head coach along the way as the Hornets replaced the stern, poker-faced Vladimir Ivic with Xisco Munoz, who was rarely seen without a smile.

Watford Observer: Xisco Munoz is held aloft as Watford celebrate promotionXisco Munoz is held aloft as Watford celebrate promotion (Image: Action Images)

The Hornets won 14 of their last 18 league games with perma-cheery Xisco instantly creating a bond with the fans.

In fact, the combination of success on the pitch and a manager who had the supporters eating out of his hand meant Giaretta had a relatively hassle-free opening 12 months at Vicarage Road.

But that wasn’t to last long, as what came next was one of the most disappointing of the 14 seasons Watford have featured in the top division of English football.

“From the first game I realised it was going to be tough to stay in the Premier League because of the technical level of the players at every other club,” reflected Giaretta.

“It is one thing to watch the Premier League on the television, but it’s another thing to be there and living it on a daily basis.

“In order to survive in the Premier League you need to perform to a very high standard in every single game. It is difficult to get points in every game.

“There wasn’t just a single, individual moment when I thought things were going wrong. It was tough from the start.

“But if you remember, we started quite strongly. We beat Aston Villa in the first game, we scored five at Everton, we beat Manchester United.

“It’s difficult to say why it went wrong because we had a good team, and I’m still convinced we had a good enough team to survive.

“There are small details though, and football is a game of fine margins where you cannot control everything. You can only control what you can control.

“You cannot control the referees, you cannot control a player hitting the post instead of scoring.

“But we tried to control those things we could control, the results didn’t continue and that affected the confidence, and then unfortunately we were relegated.”

Watford Observer: Joshua King scored a hat-trick in Watford's 5-2 win at EvertonJoshua King scored a hat-trick in Watford's 5-2 win at Everton (Image: Action Images)

Quite famously, some of the players at the club that season have spoken quite openly about being their being some bad apples in the club’s bunch of players that season, but Giaretta disputes that view.

“All of them had a good attitude, and a good sense of belonging and they knew their job. There were no crazy guys here,” he said.

“The atmosphere in the dressing room is based on the results out on the pitch. If you are getting good results on the pitch then the atmosphere is good in the dressing room.

“When you are losing games, as we were towards the end of that season, you can see some changes in the atmosphere. They are the same players, they are just affected by the results.

“For sure we didn’t get relegated because of the attitude of individual players. And also there is confusion between personality and attitude.

“Sometimes players look like they have a bad attitude when actually they have an unusual personality. There is a difference.

“We didn’t have players who were staying out late at night or who were drinking. Absolutely not. They were professional.”

If fellow teammates were called out by some of the Watford players, there was also a large amount of criticism directed by them at the two men who tried to turn things around after Xisco had departed: Claudio Ranieri and Roy Hodgson.

Watford Observer: Roy Hodgson at Anfield during his time at the Hornets helmRoy Hodgson at Anfield during his time at the Hornets helm (Image: Action Images)

“We had to act in order to try and avoid relegation, and we had to do it quickly in order to try and solve the problems,” said Giaretta.

“It was our belief that in that moment they were the right managers for what we needed. We believed they could give us something more, based on the fact that we were talking and having meetings with all the players and the staff.

“If I think back, I believe we needed the kind of experience and charisma they could bring.

“With Roy Hodgson, when he came we were in a very difficult position and he came and in his first came we played away at Burnley and got a 0-0 draw.

“But in the long term, those two appointments didn’t pay off and that’s clear.”

A truly miserable relegation season ended with some hope of a brighter future as the Hornets went from appointing two head coaches nearer a dressing gown and slippers than training kit and boots, to bringing in Rob Edwards, a highly regarded young manager who had been successful at Forest Green.

His arrival was much heralded and the club pinned their colours firmly to the Edwards mast as part of a cultural reset, on and off the pitch.

It was a new dawn that lasted a mere 11 games.

“When we appoint a manager we don’t draw a deadline to keep them only for two or three months,” Giaretta.

“Our idea is always to deeply analyse each manager we appoint so that we can have a long-term collaboration with them.

“But again, for some reasons, that appointment didn’t work out.”

Just before Edwards headed out the exit door, it seemed that Giaretta would be the one leaving.

Ahead of the September international break, it’s understood that the sporting director cleared his desk and was heading to pastures new.

However, Giaretta himself says he simply headed off to Greece after the draw with Sunderland for a pre-planned holiday.

“Honestly I think there was some misunderstanding,” he said.

“I never go on holiday in June, July or August, because I need to be at the training ground. I usually go on holiday on the first week of the international break in September.

“In that year the international break was a bit later because of the World Cup, but when it arrived I went to Greece for a holiday.

“To be honest, I read things that said I had left, but it was more of a misunderstanding which is normal when you don’t have clear knowledge of what is happening in the club.”

Watford Observer: Giaretta with Slaven BilicGiaretta with Slaven Bilic (Image: PA)

By the time Giaretta had topped up his tan in Greece, Slaven Bilic had been appointed as Edwards replacement – and not long after there was the announcement that the highly-regarded Ben Manga had also arrived at Vicarage Road to become the club’s technical director.

The ‘Manga experiment’ was brought to an end a few weeks ago, and since both Bilic and his successor Chirs Wilder have added their voice in support of current head coach Valerien Ismael in saying that having Manga at the club led to a case of ‘too many cooks’.

“Now I can say that it didn’t help much to have so many voices in the club, and I think that is why both Slaven and Chris showed their dissatisfaction. There were too many people around the team,” said Giaretta.

“We want to support the manager, we don’t want to create confusion. Where there is confusion there is greater chance for a mistake.

“The idea of bringing in Ben Manga and his group was to help our international recruitment in order to bring to the table more different names.

“That was our main idea, that is why Manga came.

“We are in a better situation now, and Valerien is completely comfortable in his position. He is absolutely involved in every transfer, in and out, both those we will do in the future and those we did in the summer.

“He is really happy to be here and he feels totally comfortable, and that is the most important thing.”

In his interview with the Watford Observer, Bilic spoke very highly of Giaretta.

“I really thank Slaven for what he said. I recognise him as a very good manager who is now doing very well in Saudi Arabia.

“Our relationship was very, very good. When two serious, professional people are working together then you don’t often get any issues.

“But to be honest, if I go back through my memory of all the managers I have worked with in my career as a sporting director – and there have been a lot, maybe 40 or more – then I believe I have had a good relationship with them.

“I get on very well with Valerien, and I find it fantastic working with him.”