Watford V Sunderland at Vicarage Road Stadium : Match Preview

31 March 2017
Watford V Sunderland - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Walter Mazzarri: Watford won't underestimate Sunderland

Watford manager Walter Mazzarri has warned his side cannot afford to underestimate bottom club Sunderland when they come to Vicarage Road.

David Moyes' men look set to be playing in the Sky Bet Championship next season, currently sitting seven points adrift of safety heading into their final 10 matches.

Italian coach Mazzarri, though, is determined Watford will be ready to face a team fighting for their Premier League future.

"I heard what the Sunderland manager has said about coming to get the three points, but we will be trying to win playing the way I like," Mazzarri said at a press conference.

"We will give everything, I can guarantee that. The result can depend on some episodes, but we will give everything."

Mazzarri added: "Sunderland are a strong team.

"They deserved win to against Burnley (when they drew 0-0) and some weeks ago they beat (Crystal) Palace 4-0. This is a team we can't underestimate."

Watford have seen the promise of the first half of the campaign fade, with Mazzarri's side now in 14th place and having lost three of their last four league matches.

However, Mazzarri believes there are plenty of reasons for the club's supporters to be positive as his team aim to finish the season on the front foot.

"I think if we look at the whole of the Premier League season until today, we are completely in line with our objective," said the Italian, who took over in the summer.

"What I can tell the fans is that we hope to do better, of course, in the next 10 games."

Captain Troy Deeney has been struggling with illness, and Mazzarri will make a late decision on the forward's availability going into a hectic schedule ahead.

"I am thinking that there are three games in one week," Mazzarri said.

"If we ask all the players, they will always reply yes (we are fit to play) but then it's up to the manager to evaluate.

"We will evaluate Deeney. I need to see. If he doesn't start tomorrow, he will be ready to come from the bench."

Meanwhile, Moyes has warned Sunderland they cannot rely on Jermain Defoe's World Cup dreams to get them out of Premier League relegation trouble.

The 34-year-old striker marked his return to the international stage after almost three-and-a-half years in the wilderness with a goal in England's 2-0 qualifier victory over Lithuania on Sunday, and immediately set his sights on forcing his way into Gareth Southgate's plans for the 2018 finals in Russia.

That added incentive to keep producing his top form can only work in the Black Cats' favour, but as they attempt to haul themselves off the foot of the table, Moyes knows even his 14-goal hitman cannot do it by himself.

He said: "We need other people in top form as well, so it's not just about Jermain, it's about the rest of the players as well. They have got to produce and they have got to perform as well.

"We need Jermain's goals, but we need people to help him score those goals and we need people to help create those goals.

"I'm only interested in Sunderland staying up, I have got no thoughts about the World Cup or anything like that at this moment in time."

Defoe revealed - after his heroics for his country - that the regime which has seen him maintain his form well into his 30s has even included a vegan diet.

Moyes said: "I'm not sure it's for everybody and there might be nutritionists out there who tell us it's the wrong thing, but I'm sure there are others who would say it's definitely the correct thing.

"But you know, if it makes him feel good, if it makes him feel confident, then so be it."

The Scot, however, was less than forthcoming when asked about a clause in Defoe's contract which will allow him to leave Sunderland for nothing in the event of relegation.

He said: "The only thing I can clear up is we are not down and we are not planning to go down, we are planning to stay up."

Moyes hopes to have defenders John O'Shea and Lamine Kone fit for the trip to Vicarage Road.