Under pressure Walter Mazzarri backed by Watford’s Stefano Okaka

Michael Regan/Getty Images

Stefano Okaka has praised Walter Mazzarri’s work at Watford amid speculation about the coach’s future.

There have been suggestions Mazzarri may depart Vicarage Road at the end of the campaign — despite leading Watford to the brink of Premier League survival, which was the target he was given when he signed a three-contract to take over as manager last May.

Okaka told Standard Sport: “I’m not aware of [the speculation] but I don’t see why there should be problems for a club like Watford, after the season we have had.

“Watford are a club who want to grow and I think this has been a good season. The aim was to stay in the Premier League, that was the most important thing, and we are 10th/11th* in the league, above a number of other teams. We will seek to finish the season as well as possible and then see what happens.”

Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images

This is Okaka’s second spell in English football, following a brief loan stint with Fulham during the 2009-10 season.

The 27-year-old has made 13 appearances for Watford this term after joining the club from Anderlecht last summer, scoring three times.

He added: “Teams are much more closely-matched now. All the teams are very strong and therefore all the games are difficult, so the level of the whole competition is higher [than when I was last here].”

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