Watford don't let managers 'get on with the job' - Giraldi
Written by Training Ground Guru — February 10, 2021
FILIPPO GIRALDI has admitted that Watford “are not a club that leaves the coach alone and lets him get on with the job” in his first interview since exiting as Technical Director in November.
The Italian had been an ever-present at the club since Gino Pozzo bought the Hornets. He scouted them prior to the purchase, became Chief Scout in 2012 and then Technical Director in 2016.
However, he took a large portion of the blame for the club's relegation in 2019/20 and departed after the 3-2 win over Stoke on November 4th.
The club made no announcement, nor issued any public thanks, and Giraldi has opened up about his tenure in an exclusive interview with Adam Leventhal for The Athletic.
One of the big talking points was around Board interference with managers and team matters. Watford have made 13 managerial changes during the eight years of Pozzo’s ownership and Giraldi could often be seen around the technical area on matchdays.
In one interview, Quique Sanchez Flores complained about staff being sent to take notes from the sidelines during his training sessions.
“We (Watford) are not a club that leaves the coach alone and lets him get on with the job," Giraldi admitted. “I’m there every day, the owner is there every day - he doesn’t watch every training session but he’s there, so you can see him and speak with him.
“Scott (Duxbury, the Chief Executive) is more based at the stadium but when he’s needed to come, he would come too. I’ve done my job and that means to confront them (the managers), to speak with them, to try and let them understand that we would like every player to be given an opportunity but when it’s the right time.
“If you see a coach work properly, you can go through a defeat without any problem because you can see that things will change and results are coming.
“No one has ever gone to a coach and said, ‘You should do that or that in training’ or, ‘Why don’t you do that?’. But in the past, we have had words about the physical load and capacity.
“If then you see there is no direction, where you work all week with one system and then play another system in the match, it’s a signal of maybe of disorganisation or desperation."
Giraldi said it was important that the club were open with prospective managers about how things worked at the club from the outset.
“What’s important in the process of selection, you have to tell them what sort of club they are coming into. This is a club where recruitment is taken care of by the club.
"If you have some big players that are staying at the club you have to have a coach who will be able to adapt to play the best players in their positions.”
Following the 4-0 Premier League defeat by Manchester City in July 2020, there were reports that Giraldi had directly influenced the decisions of caretakers Hayden Mullins and Graham Stack during the game.
“There wasn’t any sort of input," he said. "There were some GPS things that were happening. They weren’t working or slowing down, so we were trying to solve the problem with the computer.
“I always do the same when I run down to the pitch, but never to discuss tactics with the coach during the game. I’m always respectful. If I want to be labelled as credible, I need to respect people working.”
The end came for him on the day of Championship win over Stoke at the start of November.
“I had already spoken with Gino in the morning, but I didn’t feel the same,” he said. "Usually at the end of the season, we have more time to discuss deeply. We were both the same, very hurt by what happened. We didn't expect relegation at all.
“My frustration was visible because when you care about something, you don’t like to see it going backwards.”
On reflection, he said he should have left after the 6-0 FA Cup final defeat by Manchester City in May 2019.
“Usually people stay in my position two, three years in Europe, even one year and they change," he said. "We’d always been very good at sharing things and in the last year, I was not in agreement with some very important decisions we have taken. I should have raised my voice higher.
“I should fight a bit more, but I respect Gino. Respect is not an empty word to me; respect is also to understand that his responsibilities are much higher than mine.”
The club has not made any public statement about his exit, after almost nine years, and Giraldi admitted: "I don’t know why they haven’t done it. They should have said something, but I cannot control that.
“We should’ve communicated more, I agree."