Watford boss Beppe Sannino admits his team’s recent habit of throwing away leads is a problem but believes it’s one that can be solved if the Hornets are cleverer and communicate more on the pitch.
Sannino’s side have been 2-0 ahead but failed to win in three of their last four matches with games against Manchester City and Nottingham Forest ending in 4-2 defeats while Saturday’s clash at Leicester City finished 2-2.
Sannino rejected the suggestion there might be a problem with the players’ fitness and instead believes the issue lies with the team's game management.
“I don't think it is a fitness issue – I think it is more about personality,” he said.
“When Leicester equalised we could have managed the situation better and then we would maybe be talking about a different result.
“It is a problem and it is one aspect that we have to improve but not by words – we need to work.”
When asked to clarify what he meant by “personality”, Sannino pointed to Leicester’s injury-time equaliser on Saturday.
Hornets midfielder Cristian Battocchio received the ball but appeared to be struggling with a groin strain.
Instead of kicking the ball into touch so he could receive treatment or be replaced, Battocchio cleared the ball down the line, allowing Leicester to play on.
Sannino said: “We were in possession of the ball and Cristian felt a little pain in his groin and if had been able to put the ball out, we could have substituted him.
“Cristian stayed on the pitch but was limping and the play went on so Leicester played the ball and we conceded the goal with Cristian injured on the pitch because I was unable to sub him.
“This is what I mean about personality – they have to be clever and smart – they have to understand the little situations.”
The Italian also believes his players can help resolve the issue by talking more during matches.
Sannino continued: “Personality also means speaking to each other more on the pitch – helping each other with words in difficult situations.
“I was very happy with Sean Murray and Battocchio’s performance in midfield but sometimes you don’t just have to run, you have to talk.
“This is maybe down to a lack of experience which in time they will resolve – it is a learning curve.”
He added: “I can’t complain about my players’ fitness because they run so much.
“At the end of the game we want to come off smiling and against Leicester we were close to a big smile – it could have been a fantastic day but we look forward to Birmingham now.”
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