Report news now! Text pictures & video to 80360, starting message with WITNESS then leave a space
New Watford boss Giuseppe Sannino: Suffer in the week because on Saturdays you enjoy
Giuseppe Sannino's chance to manage Watford was a dream come true, with the Hornets’ new head coach insisting English football is the envy of the rest of the world.
Sannino praised the English culture and its football following his first match in charge of the Hornets at the weekend.
He has been coaching in Italy for the last 25 years, working his way from youth level up the football pyramid before earning his chance in Serie A.
With head of medical Marco Cesarini acting as translator, Sannino said: “I think a lot of my colleagues would like to work here – either in the Premier League or Championship.
“I was hoping to come here one day but it was a last-minute decision [to join Watford].
“It is a dream come true.
“The Serie A is a difficult league but the passion you have here is unbelievable. The stadiums are always full, the way English clubs play football is good, there are families in the stadium and your football is something that you should be proud of.
“People from abroad look at your country and envy you – in a good way.”
“It was a dream for me to land in England. The Ipswich game was 90 minutes of my life that I was dreaming of,” he added after the 1-1 draw on Saturday.
“I had an impression of English football [before the Ipswich match] because we watched English football in Italy.
“I have been asked why I decided to drop from Serie A level to the Championship in England but for me it is not a drop.
“I am very happy and proud to move because you can play the kind of football that I like.
“The level is not what is important, it is about what I can bring to the club.”
Sannino played professional football in the League 1 equivalent in Italy and started coaching at the age of 31.
He worked at academy level for a decade before moving up the Italian leagues in the last 25 years.
The 56-year-old had a tough upbringing as a child.
He has previously been quoted as saying his family of seven lived in a two-room house, with the young Sannino sleeping in the kitchen, and, even in winter, he would be seen playing in the streets in flip-flops and shorts.
When he began his coaching career, his day would start at 6am with a seven-hour shift as a janitor at a psychiatric hospital in Voghera before heading to start his coaching.
Sannino is an animated character on the sidelines, as he showed during his first game in charge of Watford, and believes the life he has lived is a reason for that.
He said: “If you look at my profile and CV, I am used to working hard and fighting.
“For me to get to Serie A, I had to win on the pitch – nobody has ever selected me so to speak.
“This is why I am so passionate. I feel the game like I am playing.”
During his spells at lower league clubs, a period when he secured five promotions, the 56-year-old developed a reputation for creating teams who play exciting and dynamic football.
He continued that when he was appointed Siena head coach in 2011 as he kept the recently-promoted side in Serie A and reached the Coppa Italia semi-final, which enhanced Sannino’s reputation and earned him a move to Palermo.
The club’s volatile owner sacked him three matches into the season before re-hiring him several months later but he was unable to keep the team in Italy’s top flight.
Sannino was able to land another Serie A job this summer but he was fired by Chievo after just one win in their first 12 games.
The experienced coach sacrificed some attacking creativity in favour of defensive resilience in his previous two jobs before Watford, with the sides in relegation battles.
So it will be intriguing to see how Sannino sets up his Watford team. Striker Troy Deeney says the new head coach has already told him to expect chances to be limited early on as he tries to build the team from the back.
Sannino said: “Every coach and manager has their own style. I like my teams to always have movement.
“I want my team to suffer in the week because on Saturdays they have to enjoy themselves – for the club and the supporters.”
One of the most noticeable points from his first game in charge was his desire for the Hornets players to press the opposition.
He explained: “I like my team to play positive football but to do that we need to press – to adapt to Championship football.”
Sources told the Watford Observer Sannino was first contacted about the Hornets job a week before Zola’s resignation but the Italian stressed the decision to come to England was a late one.
With more notice, Sannino stated he would have been able to speak some English.
He said: “My first speech to the lads was to apologise to them because I do not speak English. I plan to speak English as soon as possible. That is one of my big regrets.
“But the decision [to join Watford] was [made] very quickly so I didn’t have time to prepare like [other Italian managers who have come to England, such as] Carlo Ancelotti or Roberto Mancini; they had time to prepare so I am really sorry for that.”
The likes of Cesarini, new assistant coach Alberto Sebastiani and head of sports science Giovanni Brignardello are helping Sannino communicate with the players, as are players such as Manuel Almunia, Marco Cassetti and Joel Ekstrand.
But Sannino stressed: “At the end of the day, football is football. In Italy, England, France and Spain – it is the same.”
Sannino claims he doesn’t have a target for the season as a whole, stating he will take it game by game.
Speaking after his first game in charge, Sannino said: “I only had two days [preparation]. I am not a magician. [But] we know the kind of football in the Championship.
“My first thought is for Gianfranco Zola because he did a great job here. Last season it was amazing that Watford achieved the Play-Off Final.
“I think the position now is not where Watford should be at the moment and in two days I couldn’t do any more than I did and if we had of picked up three points today, it would have been because of Gianfranco.
“What I gave was my way on the touchline and the way I am with the lads – to live the game with passion.”
Comments are closed on this article.