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Watford players discuss the recent row with management
Manuel Almunia and Troy Deeney have had their say on the argument between the Hornets' squad and the club's management last week.
A row broke out between members of the Watford squad and the management in the build-up to Saturday’s match after the club told the squad they wanted them to train two weeks beyond the final game of the season.
Awful performances against Derby County on April 26 and Charlton Athletic three days later led to the club cancelling the team’s day off on Wednesday of last week.
Head coach Beppe Sannino questioned the Hornets players’ passion and commitment after the two demoralising displays and along with cancelling their day off, the club’s senior management decided they wanted the squad to train longer than initially planned after Saturday’s season finale.
In most cases, teams come into training for a couple of days after the final match of the season for testing and meetings.
On Wednesday, Sannino told the players the club wanted them to train for two weeks after the Huddersfield Town match on Saturday, which was a week-and-a-half longer than stated previously.
Watford’s players are contracted until June 30 and the senior management believed their request was fair. A source told us the club believed the extra training time would be a positive as it may have helped the squad forget about their torrid end to the season.
But the perceived punishment led to an angry reaction from some of the players – some of whom already had holidays booked.
It was subsequently decided the players would train until today (Friday), which was longer than initially planned but a week less than the club had wanted.
Captain Manuel Almunia explained the players’ position, saying: "The players did what everyone in their jobs do and that is plan their holidays, that is what we have done for the last 20 years (the length of Almunia’s career so far). You have to book flights and arrange things.
"But the club decided they wanted us to train longer. We gave our opinion to the club and the manager and we agreed to stay [longer] this week.
"So we are training this week and I think the lads are doing well."
Watford’s players return for pre-season on June 23, in six weeks time, and Almunia continued: "Last season was a long season because of the play-off final, so our holidays were shorter. We’ve also not had many days off in a row this season because we’ve played a lot of games as the World Cup means the competitions have to end earlier.
"So that’s the reason we were talking to the club, we were giving our opinion."
Top scorer Troy Deeney played down the incident this week.
He said: "Not much happened, it’s the same kind of thing that happened 40 times last year but nobody asked questions because we did well.
"It was an argument that lasted ten minutes. It was done and dusted and we’ve cracked on.
"Everyone is here and everyone is back out training. The guys who missed Saturday due to injury are back now and there are a couple who can’t train yet and they’ll stay a little longer to get themselves fit.
"It’s fine though. We’ve got a couple of test days and then everyone can go on holidays and relax. We all know we’ve got to come back and be better next year."
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